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What does establish credibility mean?

Last Updated: Nov 04, 2016  |  9776 Views
Topics: Sources

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Thank you for your question on establishing credibility.

Depending on how you use that phrase, it could mean one of two things:

1) You are supposed to establish credibility in your own paper.

  • This means that you need to show your reader that you know about your topic.
  • You want to explain how you came to know that information.
  • This could be from personal experience, for example if you work at Starbucks, then you know about coffee from a professional standpoint.
  • But, most of the time, the way to establish credibility is from using excellent research.
  • You want to back up any statements you make with facts or quotations from experts in that field of knowledge.
  • To do this, you want to use credible sources that you find when you research. This also leads to #2.

2) You need to find information from sources that have established credibility.

When writing papers for school or giving speeches in class, you only want to use "credible sources." So what is a credible source? OWL at Purdue has a good and brief guide for this. 

To determine a source's credibility, use the 5 W's below:

  • Who: Who wrote the article/website? Does the author have any credentials or expertise in this field?
  • When: When is this information from? Has anything happened in this field since the information was published that would make the information no longer true or useful?
  • Where: Where is this information from? Is it from a respected journal? A popular magazine? A questionable website? How reliable is this source? Can I find a more reliable one?
  • Why: Why was this information written? Is it factual? Is is persuasive? Does the author support his/her arguments with sources? Is there a Reference page or a Bibliography or Footnotes?
  • What: What is the point of using this particular source? What does it have that supports the argument I want to make? Is this useful for my argument?

The Library has many credible sources for you to use. If you would like some assistance using library resources, contact your Campus Librarians and they will be glad to help.

Thank you for using ASK US.

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