Home Blog Credible Sources Checklist: How to Check the Validity?

Credible Sources Checklist: How to Check the Validity?

Credible Sources for Students

Credible Sources for Students: Handy Tips

You are working on the paper and you cannot decide on trustworthy sources you can use in it. Definitely, you will find a credible sources checklist helpful and we have prepared it for you so that you did not struggle with the search for references.

What Is a Credible Source?

Not every student knows how to determine whether the source is reliable enough. Which sources are appropriate in academic writing? Students can choose the most relevant ones from the journals, books, newspapers, websites, magazines, or even interview answers. It is a must to make sure that the author of the source is an expert who can provide only valid information.

The most typical classification includes three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

What are primary sources? They are related to existing objects or items that represent the opinions or ideas in the framework of the research.

Examples of primary sources: statistical data, census data, podcasts, and literary works.

What are secondary sources? These are documents that provide analysis of primary sources or discuss certain opinions from them.

Examples: books, articles from journals or newspapers.

What are tertiary sources? This is a combination of secondary and primary sources with the explanations provided to the condensed original content.

Examples: dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac, fact book, textbooks.

Which sources are credible?
  • academic databases;
  • publications made no earlier than 10 years ago;
  • articles composed by trustworthy authors;
  • Google Scholar articles;
  • websites of the governmental and educational institutions.
Which sources are non-credible?
  • blog posts;
  • outdated details;
  • commercial websites;
  • text with no citations and references;
  • articles by the authors with no reliable credentials.

How to Find Credible Sources for a Research Paper?

Why is it important to use credible sources? This is a question of crucial importance to the students. Have a look at the following criteria which can help you understand whether the source you have chosen is really trustworthy and appropriate for your research. Also, consider that you can have a look at the sample of google credible sources and published sources to see how experienced writers deal with that.

Mind the following factors:

 Depth of writing

Evaluate the content of the source you would like to use and pay special attention to the relevance and length of that writing. Assess the quality of an abstract and reference list as well.


Decide on the target audience and think about possible bias of the author.


What is the main goal of this source? What are the means and techniques the author uses to achieve this aim? Does the author produce any impact on the readers?


Evaluate the reputation of the author and check on other works they have written.

⭐ Reputation

Is the source reputable? Where is this article or book published? Is it an official website? Think about a big picture, not specific details.


When was the article written? If it is older than five years, its relevance is doubtful.

 Facts and Proofs

Are the ideas of the author persuasive? Are there solid facts that prove the opinions of the authors?


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What Makes a Source Credible? Check 5 Top Aspects of Credibility

How can you understand that the source is credible?

✅ Content

What is the title of the content? What is the name of the author? Is it a scholarly article? Is it famous?

✅ Credibility

You can assess the credibility of the source by judging its author. Focus on the URL extension. Publishers are reliable if the extension is .com, .edu, .org, and .gov.

✅ References

If some online resources are mentioned, they have to give credit to all identified sources. The readers ought to have a chance to do further reading with the help of references. Citing has to be done according to the standards of academic writing, but they can differ among the institutions.

✅ Timely updates

There are continuous changes online. Websites are trustworthy only if they undergo maintenance and updates. Some of the sources may require some fee for citing.

✅ Context

Make a search for opinions, statistical data, commentaries, and narratives on the topic. All this creates context for research. Are you looking for the current studies or historical sources? Determine the exact research needs and try to meet them with the chosen sources.


Primary Sources for Research Papers

The first-rate research papers require only credible sources. You can use information from the following websites:

1. Taylor&Francis Online

Researchers like using this website with flawless reputation. It comprises credible science sources from various journals with peer-reviewed articles. Double check the conditions of admission as free use is limited.

2. SAGE Publishing

This database of an independent publisher is updated all the year round. It grants limited open access to academic journals, but you can get much more if you subscribe to this resource.


This is a digital library which requires subscription to get access to more than 12 million of primary sources.

4. Google Scholar

This search engine is free and you can find articles on all topics here in all publishing formats. It is not a scholarly database, but it can help you find the books and articles from reputable universities and academic publishers. You can get access to full text in case the journal articles can be found online for free.

5. ProQuest

The academic database of ProQuest is respectable as it gives access to local libraries in any area you need. You can also find the sources you need on the news and previous research.

6. Academia

There are many similarities between Academia and Google Scholar. Students download the papers they need although some of them are available only in certain sections.

7. Scopus

This database with more than 70 million items gives access to citations and abstracts of peer-reviewed sources for free, but you have to comply with the terms of use and get institutional subscription to enjoy downloading full content.

8. Google Books

This index of books is the most extensive collection in the world. The users can get a list of editions of every book and choose among the options where they can buy it. It is also handy to access the book overview you need.

9. WorldWide Science

This global science database is aimed at establishing partnership at the international level to promote scientific progress and facilitate discoveries. It also provides easy access to searching through scientific portals and databases of both national and international portals.

10. Wolfram Alpha

This is a perfect resource for generating answers at the expert level on the basis of using databases, algorithms, and AI technologies. It makes it possible to make comparison between the movies, formulae, regulations, and objects.

11. ResearchGate

This database of research publications allows search with only the research area, name of the author, or title of the source needed. The database contains more than one million questions with answers, 135 million of written pages, and 20 million of research papers.

12. ScienceDirect

This extensive database of medical and scientific literature requires subscription to get access to more than 18 million of credible sources.

13. Microsoft Academic

This free engine for web search is helpful for getting access to the required literature. Its relaunch took place in 2016 and the interface became even more user-friendly.

14. Wikipedia

Anyone can edit the pages of this source; therefore, it cannot be referred to as credible. Still, it is an outstanding tool for getting an overview of the topic and starting research from scratch. In addition, you can get links to really reliable and credible sources, which can be helpful for your research.

15. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The directory of DOAJ is curated by the community and grants free access to more than 5 million various journals, in particular related to arts, technologies, science, and humanities.

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Best Government Websites for Safe Use


It is the official website of the U.S. Government known for full coverage of the following topics:

  • Programs and services of the US government
  • Factual information about the USA
  • Issues related to consuming in the US
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Money and taxes
  • Information from federal, local, and state governments
  • Legal issues and laws
  • Health resources
  • Energy and environment protection
  • Disability
  • Resources for small-scale business


The students who ask questions about reliable references often get the answer with an example of gov.UK. It is an official website of the U.K. Government with complete information related to the public sector. It covers various topics, in particular:

  • Citizenship
  • Benefits
  • Education
  • Marriage rate, death, and birth
  • Disabilities
  • Traveling and passports
  • Business
  • Resources for self-employment
  • Law, crime, justice
  • Taxing and money
  • Services and housing

U.S. Census Bureau

It is the database of the U.S. Census Bureau about the economy and population of the USA. It is convenient to get access to statistics on crime rates, employment, health, economic performance, and social issues.

Office for National Statistics

The census website of the UK is known as the Office for National Statistics with the data about population, employment, economy, business, and labor resources in the UK.

The New York Times

The New York Times has an extensive readership over the globe. Its policy implies covering the news on politics, business, and culture at the high level of objectivity. Publications of this source won more than 130 Pulitzer Prizes.

Wall Street Journal

This outstanding news publication source is located in New York City. It is a leading influential source with lots of financial details and business information with full coverage of financial editorials and stock market activities.

The British Broadcasting Corporation

The headquarters of BBC the largest organization of broadcasting news, is in London. Millions of readers get extensive content with coverage of the current affairs, politics, and news on a daily basis.

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Credible News Sources for Students

One of the popular questions from the students is ‘Why is it important to use credible sources in research?’ The answer is given in this article, but it is also important to analyze journalism and evaluate the level of subjectivity in the articles on economics, politics, or global news.

Some of the news sources ae credible, while others lack trustworthiness. Have a look at the websites with perfect reputation not to read through fake news. So, we recommend learning about what is happening in the world through such websites as:

BBC News

Undoubtedly, it is one of the most reliable and trusted sources of updates sent in audio, video, and text formats. This TV channel has an official website which is free to use.

Associated Press News

This New York non-profit news agency includes both broadcasters and newspapers. It is an unincorporated association highly valued around the globe.

The Economist

This weekly magazine is well-known around the world as it gives access to the news on international politics, economics, and business. The subscription is paid, but this information is worth the money paid.

The Wall Street Journal

This source of information is popular in two formats: both online and in broadsheet form. The latest business updates are given for free. Still, The Wall Street Journal also encourages the readers to invest in the development of the resource.

Google News

Setting up personal preferences, you can use Google News with the utmost convenience. You can organize the headlines according to the relevance and your interests. It is the largest stream of articles.

The Guardian

One of the most favorite resources for the people worldwide, this UK newspaper is popular for more than two hundred years now. The public can get access to online publications for free, but donations are always welcome here.


Great coverage of politics and business is ensured by CNN, one more international TV channel popular far beyond the US. Its breaking news can give you a nice start if your research is related to the news in North America.


Coverage of the political events in the USA and updated in the federal government is given by the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) without any bias.

Christian Science Monitor

This news magazine gives in-depth details about all the latest issues. CSM has both the weekly and daily editions.


This website is known for excellent reporting with a neutral approach to presenting news.

USA Today

You can use it in your research without any fears as it is the primary source of news given from different perspectives all over the globe.


This US non-for-profit distributor of television programs and broadcaster provides all updates about education.


This US network of commercial television belongs to the CBS Entertainment Group division. The question, ‘Are news articles credible sources?’ has only positive answer with CBS.

Credible Sources on Natural Science: A List to Use

Looking for information from reliable sources website, you have already realized that there are both junk websites and those which deserve your attention. We have already searched for legit sources and prepared a selection of websites which you can apply in your research.


Reliability of NASA is beyond any doubt. You can get updates about space exploration and discoveries from this governmental source with reports, videos, and images. Besides, you can watch live streams!

Atlas Obscura

This database of the most delicious food and the nicest places around the globe is popular among the explorers.

Scientific American

If you need any information from technology and science, you can definitely check on this website with the works of the most reputable researches and scientists published here. Subscribing to the website or buying published journals, you can get access even to the articles of Albert Einstein.

Popular Science

This source is oriented to the general lovers of science. They can read discussions and all kinds of information about science. It is a respectable source with numerous awards won.

National Geographic

Nature lovers like exploring the documentaries and news on this source. A popular TV network also has a website and a smartphone app.

Royal Society of Chemistry

It is a great source of science journalism from contributors all over the globe aimed at supporting and promoting chemistry.


This non-profit media aims to raise public awareness and making personal stories of local and national scale.

Pacific Standard

A US online magazine is devoted to covering environmental and social issues. It is older than ten years and now it can be accessed only on the online format.

Quanta Magazine

The Simons Foundation launched this independent journal online to ensure the enhancement of public awareness about scientific issues.


The American Association for the Advancement of Science publishes numerous peer- reviewed medical articles.


It is one of the most authoritative sources at the international level in the field of technologies and science.


The Public Library of Science publishes this open-access journal with research in all disciplines related to medicine and science.


The goal of this source is to raise awareness of the public as they believe that the society needs knowledge of the latest research.

Science Direct

The publishing company based in the Netherlands produces excellent quality technical, medical, and scientific content.

Reliable Historical Websites

Check on the following reliable history websites to write good research on History. We have selected the best ones with lots of materials, documents, and facts included.

1. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

This website contains a lot of resources and an online journal entitled History Now for the students, educators, and everybody interested in history.


Digital tools and online pages of this source are free to use. They provide for educating and inspiring the public with history.

3. Digital History

The users get access to various materials and documents on the most important events and eras in history with helpful lists of citations and references.

4. TimeMaps

This website devoted to the world history contains three main parts: The Atlas (overview of the global history), The Encyclopedia (information about the nationalities and countries), and The Education area (help to teachers and students).

5. Spartacus Educational

A wide spectrum of topics is covered in this source with certain sections devoted to particular sections or topics of history.

6. Stanford History Education Group

The students get access to the inspiring course “Reading Like a Historian” with individual lessons devoted to different historical questions. The students can study different documents for different levels of comprehension.

7. Big History Project

The primary goal of this resource is to study the past, give clarifications to the issues at present, and fancy what will happen in the future. It is an exciting website for everyone interested in different topics related to the development of the Universe.

8. BBC – History

The section “On This Day” is appealing to the website visitors interested in what happened on this day in different years.

9. Digital Public Library of America

More than 40 million texts, sounds, images, and videos provide help to the US libraries as it provides access to lots of resources to a wide audience.


The viewers can watch series and films about various events in history and get answers to the most popular questions. You can sign up for the updates in Inside History Newsletter to be always aware of the latest events!

Reliable Medical Websites: Handy and Trustworthy

Can all online medical sources be viewed as reliable research websites for college students? Definitely no! Not all websites give valid information and it is crucial for the students to differentiate between reliable and unreliable sources of information. Have a look at the websites of the most prestigious universities or those sponsored by Federal Government:

✅ National Institutes of Health

This US-based website is a perfect source for medical research.

✅ MedlinePlus

The National Library of Medicine of the US uses this online source to promote knowledge. It contains more than 7 million journals, books, researches, studies, movies, technical reports, and even the oldest works on medicine.

✅ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This website of the US national public health agency provides information about the treatment protocols and various diseases.

✅ Medical Library Association

The practical expertise of three thousand experts around the globe from this non-for- profit global organization is presented to boost professionalism of others.

✅ Go Ask Alice

Experts of Columbia University with practical experience of health care and health promotion specialists give answers to the most frequently asked questions about the health system.

✅ Anxiety & Depression Association of America

The mission of this organization is to ensure prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety, making the life quality for the patients higher. The readers can get more aware of PTSD, OCD, anxiety, and depression, as well as the programs for people suffering from these diseases.

✅ The Lancet

One of the examples of reliable sources is a weekly medical journal The Lancet with lots of useful articles on the medical research findings.

✅ WMA or World Medical Association

This is an international association of free professional groups which represents doctors at the global level. It gives ethical guidance to doctors about patient safety, human rights, policy of public health, and immunization through medical statements, resolutions, and declarations.

✅ BMJ or British Medical Journal

It is one of the oldest journals with peer-reviewed articles published by the British Medical Association.

✅ The New England Journal of Medicine

This is a weekly medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society to give updates on the latest research on a weekly basis.

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Reliable Websites for Statistics

If you need valid sources for your research and they should be related to statistics, we suggest checking on the list of references for original statistics below:

 World Bank Open Data

There are several statistical databases with some of them available for free, while others require subscription.

 International Monetary Fund Data

Obtaining the financial data of the International Monetary Fund in the period of 1970 – 2010 is possible on this website.

 Statistics Canada

Statistics from this website ensure a better understanding of Canada both for the citizens and the foreigners. It gives statistical information on population, politics, economy, health, and society.

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. government uses this department for providing data related to labor economics.

 ILO or The International Labor Organization

This UN agency promotes justice in terms of social welfare and economics via maintaining the standards of international labor.

 The Statistics Division

The goal of this organization is to collect statistical information worldwide and disseminate it. It also provides a set of norms and standards for statistical activities.

 OECD Library

Only the faculty of the University of Utah provides access to this library.


The website saves and arranges data in the format of graphs, ideal for the research.


The website is helpful for researchers working in the field of investment, financial flows at the international level, and world trade.


This statistical office of the European Union provides essential statistics about all countries of Europe for further comparisons and analysis.

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Website Reliability Checklist

Looking at the credible sources examples, you can see the factors which indicate that the sources are trustworthy. They are:

  • Name of the author, his/ her reputation
  • Valid contact details
  • Latest findings and materials
  • Updates on the regular basis
  • Additional links which provide supplementary information for support of the opinions and facts
  • Purpose to raise awareness
  • Only working links on the webpage
  • No mistakes in grammar, style, or punctuation
  • Proper spelling
  • The source can be found in the scientific sources
  • Available bibliography

You have to be careful not to get into a trap. What you need is a collection of reliable sources for research. If you see that fewer than nine points from our list are valid, the chances that the source is not credible are very high.

We would be happy to be helpful for you. Every time you need fast access to trustworthy investigations, you can use the list of websites we have prepared for you in every area of studies.


Should research include only credible sources? Why is that so important?

For sure, your arguments in the research require solid facts or data and back-up with the evidence you can trust. It is a matter of crucial importance to have the sources of indisputable credibility if you care about your reputation of a researcher.

If I want to use information from a government website, is it always safe?

If you use a government website you can be sure that you make use of the official statistics and data checked and approved in the research and survey. You can get also get access to publications of reputable researchers, whose achievements are known everywhere in the world.

How can you know whether a source is valid and trustworthy?

Use the websites with the URL code .edu or .gov to be sure about the credibility of the sources to take information from. The websites with this code are the property of universities and governments; so, you can use information they contain without any hesitation. Check on the structure of the website with the focus on updates. You cannot trust the website with formatting or grammar mistakes.

Which of the sources are non-credible?

If the source is classified as non-credible, it means that you cannot trust information from it. No facts from such sources have a solid basis. If the facts have no backup, it means that without this evidence, you cannot consider them to be genuine. It is risky to include any facts from such sources into the research as your findings can also lose credibility. Your audience may qualify your research as wrong or biased if they get to know that the website you have used is non-credible.

Could you give any examples of unreliable sources?

We recommend paying special attention to the design of the websites. Unreliable one often looks suspicious. If you see that there are a lot of typos, mistakes in spelling, and grammar errors in the text, it is much better to avoid using it. The availability of the broken links is another sign of unreliability. Most probably, the websites use the information they have not checked thoroughly.

How can I check that the source is not outdated?

It is generally accepted that the source cannot be older than ten years in such areas as history, arts, literature, and humanities. All sources which are older cannot be viewed as credible or up- to-date.


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