Credible Sources 101: How to Evaluate Them + 60 Reliable Websites for Students

Credible Sources 101: How to Evaluate Them + 60 Reliable Websites for Students

Struggling to find credible sources for the paper you are working on? Here, you will get a list of trustworthy sources and some tips on finding reliable references.

What Is a Credible Source?

This is a vital question for every student. When we say “a credible source,” we mean a website, a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a person, that we can completely trust. The source’s author is usually an expert in the field, so you can be entirely sure that the information is relevant and valid.

We differentiate between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

🥇 Primary sources are first-hand objects, which existed at a specific time. They can also be items that express research ideas or opinions.

Еxample: literary works, podcasts, diaries, census, and statistics.

🥈 Secondary sources are second-hand documents of an event or topic. They give analysis or discussion of primary sources.

Еxample: journal review articles, newspaper articles, and books.

🥉 Tertiary sources put together primary and secondary sources. They have often been condensed and rewritten in a more explanatory form.

Example: textbooks, fact books, almanacs, dictionaries, and encyclopedias.

How to Find Credible Sources?

How to find credible sources? Well, that is an interesting question! We have prepared a list of criteria to pay attention to while working on your research. If you aim to find the most credible works, keep reading!

🔎 The depth of the source
Keep in mind the depth of an article, not only the content that is included in it. Look at the length and relevance of the piece. It is always a good idea to notice if there is a reference list and an abstract.

🔎 The readers
Think about the people who are going to read the article. A target audience means a lot for authors. If the writer has a specific goal, there might occur biased data and views.

🔎 The goal of the article
Don’t forget to pay attention to the aim of the source. How is the writer trying to achieve their goal? What techniques do they use? Are they trying to influence you somehow or not?

🔎 The author
Try to consider the author of the source. Think about the author’s reputation. Look through their other works.

🔎 The reputation of the source
It is not easy to evaluate how reputable the source is. You could start with a general idea of where the material is published. Look at the website: it could be an official university page or some other less trusted website. Concentrate on the big picture.

🔎 Relevance
Don’t miss the date of the article! If the source is old, it is from five years ago. Probably it is not relevant anymore.

🔎 Proof
Concentrate on the facts. Look for the data which proves the author’s point and never trust just persuasive passages.

5 Signs of a Reliable Resource.

What Makes a Source Credible? 5 Signs of a Reliable Resource

How to assess the source’s credibility?

✅ Content  
Try to identify what kind of content you deal with. Do you know the title and the author? How would you describe the content? Maybe it is satiric, famous, or scholarly.

✅ Credibility  
It is also possible to judge the article by its author. If the author is easy to identify, reliable, and has many works, the source is probably credible. 
The URL extension is important too. If the extension is .edu, .com, .gov or .org, it says. a lot about the publisher too.  

✅ References
Authors should cite the Internet resources they refer to in their work. It is important to identify sources used to give credit to the author. Besides, it helps to provide the reader with references for further reading. Basic style manuals give examples of citing Internet documents. But remember that these rules are not uniform.

✅ On-time updates
Internet is a living substance. You can trust a website only if it is maintained and updated on time. Make sure that the source is completely free, as some of them charge fees for in-depth usage.

✅ Context
It is essential to know the context of your research. Find any materials on your topic, including a narrative, statistics, commentary, or opinion. Try to understand what kind of information you are looking for, current or historical? Studies or articles? It is also a good idea to define the research needs and decide what sources might fulfill your needs.

The List of 60 Credible Sources For Students

We decided to help you out and prepare a list of 60 credible sources in different fields. Go on reading, and you will find trustworthy resources for research papers and historical, medical, statistics websites. We also have reliable news and science websites. All the best sources are on this list for you.

10 Credible Sources for Research Papers

One of the key characteristics of the research paper is using credible sources to support your ideas. Below, you will find plenty of useful websites for your writing:

  1. Taylor&Francis Online
    The website is popular among researchers. It also has an excellent reputation. The website contains reviewed articles from different journals.
  2. SAGE Publishing
    This publisher is independent. But it opens you access to academic journals and much more! It is also reputable, as it updates its database every year.
  3. JSTOR
    This website is a library of different sources. It has books, articles, and journals. The access is limited, but the originals are selected before they are placed on the website.
  4. Google Scholar
    It’s a search engine that presents academic works on any topic. Google Scholar is a free tool, besides it provides you with any publishing format.
  5. Academia
    Academia is a source like Google Scholar. There you can find and download any paper. Unfortunately, sometimes the writers upload only a part of their writing piece.
  6. Scopus
    It is a database of peer-reviewed sources. Note that they only provide abstracts and citations for free. To get the papers’ full content, you need to review the terms.
  7. Google Books
    It is the world’s most extensive index of full-text books. It provides you with an accessible overview of the book and several options of where you can buy it. You get a list of other editions and similar books as well.
  8. WorldWide Science
    It’s a global science gateway. Its goal is to accelerate scientific discovery and progress through an international partnership. It also aims to enable federated searching of national and international scientific databases and portals.
  9. Wolfram Alpha
    WolframAlpha helps to compute expert-level answers using breakthrough algorithms, knowledgebase, and AI technology. You can get information and compare any objects, characters, films, rules, formulae, etc.
  10. ResearchGate
    It is a research publication database with 135+ million publication pages, 20+ million researches, and 1+ million questions with answers. If you need to find a publication, just enter a title, author’s name, or research area.
3 Types of Most Reliable Sources.

10 Reliable Historical Websites

Writing paper on History? Check out the websites below! We are sure, you will find there a lot of interesting facts, documents, and other materials on any period and topic.

  1. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
    This is a website of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American science. Here you can find multiple resources based on periods and topics. It also has an online journal called History Now. The journal features essays by top American history researchers for teachers, students, and just readers.
  2. RRCHNM
    RRCHN is part of the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. RRCHN creates online pages and open-source digital tools to advance history education and improve historical understanding. It also aims to inspire public participation in the practice of History.
  3. Digital History
    It is an excellent source providing users with various documents and other materials on all significant historical eras and events. There is also a list of citations and digital references, which can be especially useful for teachers and students doing their research.
  4. TimeMaps
    TimeMaps is an excellent website about world history. The website is divided into three major parts.
    The Atlas provides you with an overview of the world’s history.
    The Encyclopedia lets you dig deeper into the detailed knowledge of countries and nationalities.
    The Education area helps students and teachers to use the website as efficiently as possible.
  5. Spartacus Educational
    This source provides you with information on a wide range of topics. Some of the site sections are dedicated to specific countries’ history. Others concentrate on such significant topics as Women’s History or The Roman world.
  6. Stanford History Education Group
    Stanford History Education Group invites you to a course called “Reading Like a Historian.” The curriculum inspires students to study History. The course consists of lessons: each lesson concentrates on a central historical question. It also includes several documents made for groups of students with a range of reading skills.
  7. Big History Project
    The Big History project aims to examine the past, explain the present, and imagine our future. This approach includes several disciplines. It keeps high school students in focus, though it was made for anyone looking for answers to the big questions about the Universe.
  8. BBC – History
    The BBC History website is attractive from many perspectives. But one of the most exciting parts of it – is the “On this day” section. It shows the visitors what had happened on a particular day in the past years.
  9. Digital Public Library of America
    Digital Public Library of America contains 43,899,411 images, sounds, texts, and videos from across the USA. Its goal is to help American libraries take control of acquisition and delivery. It also aims to make different materials more available to a bigger audience.
  10. HISTORY
    The website offers a wide range of films and series on different historical events. It also provides stories about History, answering such popular questions as “Who invented television?”. You can also sign up for the Inside History Newsletter and stay tuned for all the latest updates!

10 Most Reliable Medical Websites

You may come across dozens of thousands of medical websites. However, not all of them provide reliable and up-to-date information. How to avoid non-credible sources? Here’s the tip: look at websites that are sponsored by Federal Government or belong to trusted universities. To ease your search, you may start with the sources below:

  1. National Institutes of Health
    This website is the main point for medical research in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the most significant source of medical research funding globally.
  2. MedlinePlus
    This is the online space of the United States National Library of Medicine. The National Library of Medicine is no less than the world’s most extensive medical library with over 7 million books, journals, studies, technical reports, microfilms, and some of the oldest medical works.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    This is a website of The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the national public health agency of the United States. Here you will find important information about diseases and treatment protocols.
  4. Medical Library Association
    The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a global, non-profit educational organization. Its members are 400 institutions and 3,000 professionals in the health information field. It boosts the highest level of professional practice.
  5. Go Ask Alice
    The Go Ask Alice! A team of Columbia University made the site. Its authors are health promotion specialists and health care providers. Their goal is to answer the most relatable current questions about health and the health system.
  6. Anxiety&Depression Association of America
    ADAA is an organization that works to prevent and cure anxiety disorders and depression.
    Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD. Here you will be able to learn more about the diseases mentioned above. You will get informed about the programs, designed for people suffering from those illnesses.
  7. The Lancet
    The Lancet is an influential weekly medical journal. It is among the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals. Here you will find reliable information about the latest medical findings and research.
  8. World Medical Association
    The World Medical Association (WMA) is an international and independent confederation of free professional medical associations representing physicians worldwide. The association is ready to provide you with ethical guidance to physicians through its Declarations, Resolutions, and Statements. You can also learn about health-related human rights, patient safety, public health policy, and projects such as tobacco control and immunization.
  9. British Medical Journal
    The BMJ is a peer-reviewed medical trade journal. It is published by the trade union of the British Medical Association. The BMJ is one of the oldest general medical journals. The journal helps to enhance public medical knowledge and publish the latest medical news and research results.
  10. The New England Journal of Medicine
    The New England Journal of Medicine is a weekly medical journal. The Massachusetts Medical Society publishes it. It is one of the most famous medical journals. You get weekly updated research results.
A reliable source.

10 Most Reliable Science Websites

Despite tons of junk, the internet is still a great place to discover knowledge. If you don’t want to waste your time on searching for legit resources, take a look at our selection:

  1. Royal Society of Chemistry
    Chemistry World provides science journalism of high quality from international contributors. It aims to represent the global chemical science community. Its goal is to promote and support chemists and chemistry worldwide.
  2. Atlas Obscura
    The website presents a global community of explorers who have made a database of the world’s most beautiful places and foods.
  3. NPR
    NPR is an independent, non-profit media organization. Its mission is to create a more informed public. Through its network of member stations, NPR aims to make local stories national and global stories personal.
  4. Pacific Standard
    Pacific Standard was an American online magazine. It talked about social and environmental issues. It was founded in 2008. Later it was transitioned to an online-only format.
  5. Quanta Magazine
    Quanta Magazine is an independent online journal. The Simons Foundation launched this fabulous magazine. It aims to enhance public understanding of science.
  6. Science
    Science Magazine is the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is one of the world’s top academic medical journals.
  7. Nature
    Nature is an international journal publishing research studies in all fields of science and technology. The basis is the originality, importance, and interdisciplinary interest. The journal also provides rapid and insightful news of topical and coming trends influencing science.
  8. PLOS ONE
    PLOS One is an open-access scientific journal. The Public Library of Science published it. The journal publishes research from any discipline, covering science and medicine.
  9. Frontiers
    Frontiers is an Open Science Platform whose mission is to make science open to the public. The team of the platform believes that research is the foundation of modern society.
  10. Science Direct
    Science Direct is based in the Netherlands. This publishing company is concentrated on scientific, medical, and technical content.

10 Best Reliable News Websites

Don’t want to spend your time reading fake news? Here are the top 10 reliable news websites to learn about current issues:

  1. Associated Press News
    The Associated Press is a news agency based in New York. It is non-profit, and it operates as an unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters.
  2. BBC News
    The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the most extensive broadcasting agency in the world. The British government funds the organization. It is considered a central news source. It is one of the most trusted sources worldwide.
  3. C-SPAN
    Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) provides unbiased news coverage of the U.S. federal government and U.S. political events.
  4. Christian Science Monitor
    Christian Science Monitor is a news magazine that is a little different from the other news sources. The published stories are very in-depth, but they reflect all current issues.
    You can get news from CSM in two ways: the daily edition or the weekly version.
  5. The Economist
    The Economist is a well-known weekly magazine. It focuses on international business, economics, and politics. Though the subscription is not cheap, readers say it’s worth it.
  6. Reuters
    Reuters website has an excellent reputation for good reporting. Reuters uses a “value-neutral approach” to guard against bias in its reporting. So you can be sure that the information you get here is totally worth using.
  7. USA Today
    USA Today is a news source that is read all over the world. It is the primary source of news for millions of people daily. In the USA Today, you can get a range of different viewpoints.
  8. The Wall Street Journal
    The Wall Street Journal is an American daily newspaper. It will help you focus on business in your research. The journal is based in New York City.
    The WSJ Journal is highly trusted in the United States. It has a strong center rating, and it was the only trusted outlet in a recent survey.
  9. PBS
    PBS is an American broadcaster and television program distributor. It is a non-profit organization. It will provide you with the most prominent info about educational television programming.
  10. CBS
    CBS is an American commercial television network. It is the flagship property of the CBS Entertainment Group division.
5 Characteristics of Unreliable Sources.

10 Reliable Websites for Statistics

Looking for reliable source of data? Why don’t you check our selection of organizations that conduct original statistics research? Check out the libraries below:

  1. World Bank Open Data
    The website includes one or more statistical databases. Some World Bank Data databases may be available by subscription only.
  2. International Monetary Fund Data
    The website listed one or more of the databases of the International Monetary Fund. This site provides the INF financial data from 1970 – 2010.
  3. Statistics Canada
    Statistics Canada website offers statistics that help Canadians better understand their country. You will get statistics on many points, including population, resources, economy, and society.
  4. The Bureau of Labor Statistics
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a part of the United States Department of Labor. It is the leading agency for the U.S. government in the field of labor economics and statistics.
  5. The International Labour Organization
    The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an agency of the U.N. Its goal is to advance social and economic justice through establishing international labor standards. Here you will find the latest news about international labor situation.
  6. The Statistics Division
    The Statistics Division aims to compile and disseminate global statistical information. It also develops standards and norms for statistical activities.
  7. OECD Library
    Access to this library is limited to University of Utah faculty. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is the OECD’s Online Library of Statistical Databases, Books, and Periodicals.
  8. NationMaster
    The website specializes in saving and collecting data with worldwide importance. It offers data in a graph format, which can be great for your research.
  9. UNCTAD
    This site aims to provide the statistical data essential for the analysis of world trade and investment. It will also help you specialize in international financial flows and development.
  10. Eurostat
    Eurostat is the statistical office. It belongs to the European Union, and it is situated in Luxembourg. Its purpose is to provide the European Union with statistics at the European level. These statistics enable comparisons between countries and regions.

✏️ FAQ


❓ Why Is It Important to Use Credible Sources in Research?


It is crucial to use credible sources while working on your research: you need to back up your argument with trustworthy evidence. It can only be possible if the sources you use are reliable and their credibility is indisputable.


❓ Why Are Government Websites Reliable?


Government websites provide only official data and statistics in their works. They also publish results of well-known researchers, which are trusted all around the world.


❓ How Do You Know a Source Is Сredible?


If you want to be sure that a website is credible, look for .edu or .gov in the URL code. This code means, that the government or some university owns the website, so you can trust it. It is also a good idea to make sure that the website is updated and structured. If you see the opposite signs and the texts have grammatical or formatting mistakes – you probably can’t trust that source.


❓ What Are Non-Credible Sources?


Non-credible sources mean the sources which you can’t trust. These websites contain information that isn’t proved. There is no evidence or backup of the information mentioned there. It is dangerous to use non-credible sources while doing your research, as they might be misleading. As a result, the results of your research might be considered biased or even wrong.


❓ What Are Some Examples of Unreliable Sources?


Unreliable sources often have a strange design. The links are broken, and you see grammar and spelling errors. These websites probably lack authors or sources of information. Non-credible sources are not associated with credible institutions or organizations.


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