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4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source - 2022 Guide

“Use credible sources” is the most frequently used phrase by instructors in educational institutions while assigning term papers or essays. If you are in school or college right now, you must have heard this phrase many times from your instructor. But the question is.. Do you know what a credible source is? What kind of sources does your instructor expect you to use? If you have no clue, then you’ve come to the right place. Let's begin!


The question is not very technical and if you think your professors demand something out of this world from you, maybe you are thinking too much. All you need to do is simply learn what a credible source is and how to use it in your essay to become a good essay writer.


When searching for information for a topic, many students assume that whatever website they’ll open will have what they need. But unfortunately, many of these websites and sources do not have the authentic and credible information that our professors usually want from us. If you want to know what credible sources look like, then keep reading below.


Credible Sources: A credible is usually defined as a source that contains unbiased information that is backed up by evidence for the claims made in the content sources. Examples of credible sources are primary research articles, peer-reviewed papers, books, papers, and reports.




Evidence to support a claim taken from reports and articles published in Journal articles is the most authentic first form of credible sources. Second, comes the peer-reviewed articles. You might think about what peer-reviewed articles are. The articles or text written by one author, and critically reviewed by other academic experts are called peer-reviewed articles. You can find numerous of them in your library’s database easily. 


The third form of credible resources can be obtained with some minimal tricks and observations. For example, websites that end in .gov are credible. Another tip to find a good credible source is to find the required articles by looking for them on Google Scholar and JSTOR instead of directly googling them.


Books: Books are one of the most authentic credible sources to support your claim in a paper but they must be published by a well-known publication house. Books being published through commercial publishers including SAGE, Routledge, Oxford University Press are considered authentic and credible sources. I use these sources when I have to write my essay, and of course you can use them as well. Information obtained from such books will definitely impress your professor, that is, if you use the information properly.


Non-credible sources


Now, let’s talk about non-credible sources. Non-credible sources are the ones that do not include any information about the sources used by the author of the article. Every blog, social media site, website with personal opinions, fake biased news outlets with similar names as a credible site, all of such sources are non-credible. Basically, a non-credible source includes information that is based on a person’s opinion or experience. Some examples of such kind of sources are given below: 


Websites named, The Patriot Post, Off Guardian, and The Freedom Articles. Although these article websites look very much similar to The Guardian, CNN, and The New York Times, just a skimmed reading of the material and news on these websites can tell the difference between the two.


Textual Credibility


Okay so, now you know the difference between credible and non-credible sources and how to identify them. So now, comes the question of how to use the credible sources that you plan to use in your essay. To learn how to incorporate the information from these sources into your essay, you must first determine that the source or the article  you’ve selected is relevant to your topic. Even if it's a highly credible source, you can't just pointlessly fit it into your essay. So make sure to check that it matches your topic. 


Then you must see the information you have selected to include falls in line with the main idea of the paragraph, that is, the topic sentence. Basically, when you use sources in your essay, you’re backing up your claims with credible and reliable evidence. What I mean is, you write a topic sentence that supports your thesis statement and then you provide supporting material to back up the claim you’ve just made. So, make sure you include only relevant information. 


Before I end this blog, I want to address something very important… A common mistake that many students make is that they use Wikipedia as a source for their essay. The knowledge available on wikipedia is often questioned, that is, people often wonder if they should trust it. The reason is that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone; therefore, you should think twice before including anything taken from Wikipedia in your essay. 


Another thing that you should remember is to cite your sources and include them in your list of references at the end of the essay. If you are new to writing and do not have any idea of how to do this, then you can look up some websites for help. Another option is contacting an essay writing service, which is always a great help in such times of need. So, don't waste your time stressing with the thoughts that writing an interesting paper is such a pain and start working! 


You might feel overwhelmed with all the above-mentioned information and think that finding and adding credible sources to organize and write your paper is one hell of a task but it is not. You just have to clear your mind, set your goal, and get the work done right because I am sure you can do it!


Useful Resources:


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