The credibility of a source depends on how and why it was created, its creator’s expertise and objectivity, the accuracy and completeness of the information presented, whether the information is current, and how the source will be used.
Some sources may be very credible but still inappropriate choices for a research assignment, depending on the requirements of the assignment.
Other sources, such as “fake news” and other dis/misinformation are never credible, no matter how convincing they are.
The process of evaluating a source -- especially an internet source -- includes both:
The strategies below come from Mike Caulfield’s free online book, Web Literacy For Student Fact-Checkers (2017), which provides detailed fact-checking instructions, including how to: determine the reputation of a scientific journal; figure out the original source of viral content; figure out who paid for a website; see if a tweet was sent by an imposter; find web pages that have been deleted; verify quotes from printed books; and more.
Download the document below to save or print a copy of the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process: