March 26, 2015

Homework Help: reputable sources

Posted by Brooke on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 7:53am.

What would be the most reputable sources I can use?

Your most reputable sources for the type of research you are doing will be in books from the library. (Librarians have already sorted out the good stuff from the garbage!) Ask your reference librarian for help in locating the best you can find for the NARROW topic you are focusing on.

If you feel you just HAVE to have something from the Internet, here are some librarians' webpages explaining how to tell the good stuff from the rest:
Read the Criteria section; practice on the Examples section.


Some even dispute the
Ten Commandments as not coming from God, so the concept reputable is the first thing one has to define.
Are experts reputable? It depends, did they have an ax to grind in saying/writing what they stated?
I find more and more as I get experienced in life, reputable is a shaky concept, as is reputation. The more valid truth comes from several sources, if possible.
The most reputable sources are those who are recognized as such in a particular field. Many professions have their own peer review processes that filter out (sometimes) weird ideas. Although not perfect, peer review of "experts" is about as good as one gets. So being recognized in the field is important. But it is not enough. I remember a few years ago Linus Pauling (look him up) was advocating massive (really massive) doses of Vitamin C as a cure for cancer. He was about as reputable is a person comes, but he was wrong, and in fact, a quack.

So the question begs for an answer. 1) My advice is to look for several sources, sort out vested interests (Vitamin merchants still quote Pauling on Vitamin C, you can find many on the web).
2) Look for sources that have submitted themselves to professional Peer Review in their technical societies.
3) Look for sources that have a history of correctness and validity. If you are not an expert in the field, this is difficult.

When you want to trust someone, ask who is the author, what is their expertise, what are their vested interests?

Good luck.

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