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CMP 200 - Krieg: Credible Sources

Designed for Dr. Krieg's research project assignment for his CMP 200 class

Evaluating Resources

Start with the sites you know.

If you don't know the site -- Be Skeptical!

Check the URL:

  • Notes on Personal Pages:
    • Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and other personal social media are generally not considered credible resources.
    • Not always reliable, try to learn more about the author.
    • URL usually includes the person’s name.
    • If their name isn’t the site name, it will likely be in the URL after a tilde or percentage sign.
    • Type of Domain:The domain type should match the content type:
  • .com = commercial
  • .edu = educational
  • .mil = military
  • .gov = government
  • .org = nonprofit

Who Published It?

  • Look at the first part of the URL between http:// and the first /.
  • Find the agency or person that published the article
  • Go to their homepage -- does the content of the publisher's page "match" the content of the article?
  • Reliable publisher = reliable content and authors

Who Wrote It?

  • Find out who is accountable for the information.
  • Find the author/organization responsible for the content.
  • Look for a link or About Me/About Us/Background page that will tell you more about them
  • Look for info on their education and experience.
  • Evaluate what you know about them and decide if you believe they are qualified to write about the topic.

Timeliness

  • An outdated source is not always credible.
  • Current topics: publishing dates are important
  • Outdated topics: date should be near the time the content became known.

Check Sources

  • Scholarly content should always have source info, and should not be an opinion piece. It should contain references to data, or research studies.
  • Scholarly research is built on past research, so there need to be sources cited.
  • If the content is reproduced from another source, go to the original source to ensure it has not been altered.

Bias

  • Make sure your source does not use vague terms to support its claims.  Phrases like "recent studies proved", or "experts point out".
  • Beware of buzz words and phrasing that are designed to evoke an emotional response.  If it makes you angry -- that is a red flag.
  • Is the title misleading -- does the information on the page match the title your search engine found?

Links to the Site

  • Links from other reliable sites shows credibility
  • If they are the only one linking to the site (from other parts of their site) then it may not be reliable.
  • Check any endorsements or reviews to make sure they are not made up, and the reviewers are outside experts.

Find Related Sites

Type the word LINK: into Google search box. Paste the URL directly after the colon, no spaces. Difference search engines may have different results so try more than one. If you don’t see any links, shorten the URL.

Overall Evaluation

  • Once you have reviewed all of this info, you can decide whether you believe
  • the source to be credible.
  • Since the internet is open to everyone, remember that you may be looking at false info or opinions instead of fact.
  • If you’re unsure, go to a reference desk in the library or ask an expert for advice:
  • https://library.kutztown.edu/researchservices

Report on Credible Sources from CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher, one of the library's most-used databases has a report on Misinformation in popular media at:

Justice, G. (2022, January 28). Misinformation and the media. CQ researcher, 32, 1-30. http://library.cqpress.com/

Document URL:  https://tinyurl.com/2p8m9v6u

Predatory journals

In the last 10 years, scholarly publishing has been plagued by explosive growth of bogus scientific journals, sometimes called "predatory journals." 

Library databases have already screened out these predatory journals for you, but if you are looking for articles using Google, Google Scholar, or another web search engine, you need to add an extra step to your research.  You need to make sure the article you are looking at comes from a genuine peer-reviewed journal.  

There is a library database called Cabell's that lists predatory journals:    Cabell's Predatory Reports.  Go to this database and type in the name of the journal you found on the web.  If you find the journal in this database, you should not use the article in your research.