Skip To Main Content

Research Guidelines and Credibility Resources

Creditability of Sources

Students today have a vast amount of information available to them.  So, how does one determine the creditability of sources when it comes to research, news media, social media, advertising and daily communication?  This is an everyday responsibility, but where to begin!  To help you make educated decisions regarding the credibility of information, it helps to ask the following questions:
         Who?     What?     Where?     When?     How?


  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author’s credentials?
  • Is the author an expert?
  • Does the author show up in a google search?
  • Has the author written/published other works?
  • With whom is the author affiliated?
  • If published on a website, who owns the site?
    • Find out who owns the site using this format - whois web address 
      Example - whois 


  • Is the information able to be verified for accuracy?
  • Does the information appear to be sponsored content or advertisement?
  • What is the purpose of the information?
    • Professional paper
    • Speech or informational talk
    • Demand Media
    • Question & Answer
    • Social Media - tweet, chat, post


  • Where is the information posted?
    • Print newspaper, journal or book
    • .edu (accredited educational institutions)
    • .gov (government agency)
    • .mil (military institution)
    • .com (any commercial business, money generator)
    • .net, .biz or .info (any business, no specific designation)
    • .org (any organization)
  • If there are links or ads, for what kind of content?
  • If online, does the URL have indications that it might be a personal page?
    • Contains a tilde ~
    • Contains a percentage sign %
    • Contains a personal name
    • Contains words like “users” “people” “members”


  • When was the work created?
  • Is the content current?
  • Is it a new discovery?


  • How is the information being presented?
  • Is the language free of emotion?
  • Is the language free of bias or agenda?
  • Is the information one sided?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Has the information been reviewed?


Vetting On-line Sources and News

MLA Bibliography Guidelines