In decades past, we used books and articles in periodicals to do research. It was safe to assume that publishers had done their due diligence to ensure the credibility of sources. Today with so much information online, it is much easier to do research, but it is also easy to fall into the trap of reading articles from unreliable sources.
TAARP is an acronym that helps us remember the five important things to look for to ascertain if a resource is credible.
Timeliness – how recent was the article, post or journal written? Could more studies have been done or events taken place since this article was published? Always check when a page was last updated.
Authority – what authority does the author have? An author’s name, credentials and professional affiliation should be at the bottom of the article, if it is not, the source would not be considered credible. Does the article include footnotes, a bibliography, credits and quotations?
Audience – who is the audience for this website? Is it for entertainment purposes or for scholarly reserach?
Relevance – can you connect the information in the journal to your thesis?
Perspective – biased sources can be helpful for understanding different viewpoints, but extremely biased sources often misrepresent information.
Assess the Sources of Your Sources
Assess the Credibility of the Author
The URL of a Website
Informational websites will end in .edu or .gov
Advocacy websites end in .org
News, marketing and business websites end in .com
It is not always easy to know if a web source is a credible site, but if the author’s name and credentials are listed, there are no grammatical errors, you can verify the information on several well-known sources, there are no broken links and the article or website is updated frequently, the article is more likely to be considered credible.
Sources for this article:
Evaluating Online Sources. (2020). Columbia University. https://library.columbia.edu/libraries/undergraduate/evaluating_web.html
Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Evaluating Credibility. (2020). BYU Library. https://guides.lib.byu.edu/c.php?g=216340&p=1428399