5 Prompts What Way To Find Reliable Web Sources To Cite

Tuesday, 09 September 2014 02:51

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5 Prompts What Way To Find Reliable Web Sources To Cite

Are you still wondering why to bother about the choice of online sources for your works or writing tasks? Firstly, if you tend to consult unreliable web sources, you are sure to ruin your reputation and as a result, get low grades, lose your constant readers, have low search engine rankings, etc. This becomes possible because you may use out-of-date facts, false statements or even plagiarized ones not realizing that it is so. Secondly, you are more likely to fall into the trap when citing so called “fake characters” who don’t exist in real life and got used to copy-pasting techniques.

So, should you always run a deep analysis of the sources? On the one hand, it’s very time-consuming, but on the other hand, you don’t want to put yourself at risk, do you? Well, let’s dwell on this a bit.

When To Investigate Thoroughly?

The fact is that you needn’t carry out a profound web research to check credibility of web sources all the time. For example, when you are on the point of writing an essay on the most popular hobbies or review of a film or program, generally, you are free to rely on any sources of information, which you consider to be adequate enough.

Though, if your task is to write something more fundamental, like thesis, term paper, scientific or analytical article, then you are required to use only highly credible sources, of course.

So, the more serious your writing task is (i.e. its type and subject-matter), the pickier you should be about selecting a web source to cite. But the research has to be carried out anyway.

What Are The Characteristic Features Of Reliable Online Sources?

No doubt, that reliable web sources should have proper “exterior design”, particularly font size, pictures, graphs, etc. are to be accurate and refer to published information. However, you do understand that these are not the most important things, which good quality sources should possess.

Among the most essential “interior design” attributes are the following:

  • name of an author having written an article;
  • date when an article was written or published;
  • references to the sources used by an author;
  • facts mentioned should be well-grounded and unbiased;
  • generally, a good web source has either “.edu” or “.gov” in the end of a website name [1], however, the web sources belonging to “a respected university, a credible media outlet, government program or department, or well-known non-governmental organizations” are considered to be highly credible too. [2]

Obviously, these are not the only prompts you may take advantage of. Below you can find 5 more tips to help you out.

Prompt #1. Give Preference To The First Hand Information

Not to be influenced by somebody’s opinion and to avoid misinterpretations, you should consult original sources of information instead of those, which make references to them.

For example, if you used to turn to Wikipedia, you’d better find a link to the original source this site acknowledges and look for more details there. Thus, you will also have a better understanding of the issues described and a chance to carry out more thorough analysis of the information to formulate your own opinion about the matter and draw some conclusions.

Prompt #2. Have A Look At The Sources Cited By Sources You’re Going To Use

A man is known by his friends, the same goes about all web sources. Namely, only reputable sources will cite other reputable sources, otherwise the facts stated by them could be doubtful.

For example, if you’ve found a web site and it seems worthy to make reference to, what would you think about this very source the moment you see that most of the sources cited there are self-published blogs of unknown authors or even forums? You are likely to change your mind and avoid citing this source at all. And it will be the right solution!

Prompt #3. Research The Medium To Find Corresponding Online Source

You are sure to know many printed credible sources of information (i.e. magazines, newspapers, journals, etc), aren’t you? So, why not conduct a brief Google research to find out whether there are some corresponding online sources? Thus, you can save a great deal of time! Besides, the online sources may contain more information, that could be left out by their printed verions.

Prompt #4. Pay Attention To Online Materials’ Reviews

Should you write something rather substantial, you may also look for articles’ expert reviews in order to know what way others value them. Please note that unbiased reviews have to mention both advantages and drawbacks of a particular source.

Prompt #5. Look For The Sources With Expertise

This approach is applicable whenever you want to be 100% sure that the information you cite is valuable indeed. Particularly, you should pay special attention to what subject-matters a source focus on, e.g. if it “specializes” in several absolutely different subjects like astronomy, fashion, military forces and home appliances… obviously, it isn’t worth citing.

Stick To Your Own Point Of View

Well, the chase after credible web sources is really wearisome, since everybody’s aware of the fact that the Internet is littered with irrelevant information, false statements or twisted facts.

Therefore, one of the best solutions to overcome these obstacles is not to forget to express your opinion, which is always appreciated much more than simply dwelling on what an author meant.

So, don’t lose your face!



  1. with regard to characteristics a good web sources should have: http://www.roanestate.edu/owl/research.html
  2. with regard to credible sources tips: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/02/


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