Finding a Reliable Information Source
It is important to use trusted sources when looking for scholarly articles to avoid inaccurate information.
- Scientific databases are an excellent place to start looking for scientific articles.
These databases include:
- PubMed: excellent source of scientific articles about health and medicine
- The Cochrane Library: provides many well researched review articles
- Google Scholar: Searches all scholarly works including journals, books and theses
- JSTOR (short for Journal Storage): Searches large number of academic journals
- Government bodies, such as The United States Department of Health and Human Services, have websites that can be used to search for scholarly articles as well.
- Hospital or university libraries can also be reliable places to find scholarly articles. »
- You may need the citation of the article so that you can search for it on a different site that does not require a fee.
- Ask the reference desk if you need help finding a reliable article.
- For additional information on how to find scholarly articles, please see the following reference pages:
- Basic description of scholarly articles. »
- More in depth information about finding scholarly articles. »
There are many aspects of an information source that will help you determine whether it is good information or not. Whether you are looking at a journal, article, or website, these characteristics are important to think about.
- Review the author’s credentials. For instance, educational background and past writings.
- Look to see if the author’s work has been cited in other articles and if the author is affiliated with a trustworthy institution or organization.
- Date of Publication and Publisher
- Look for the date the source was published. Avoid using very out of date information.
- Check who published the source. If it was published by a university press, then it is a credible source. Government agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health, are also credible sources. Be very careful when looking at information sponsored by companies that may have something to gain for the information listed.
- Edition or Revision
- Check if the first edition of the publication has been revised. If the publication has been revised or updated, it may indicate that the source is reliable.
- Determine why the source was written. Does this support the reason you are looking for information?
- Look at the audience the writer intended the source for. If it is intended for the scientific community, it is likely more credible than if written for a mainstream media.
- Quality of Information
- Look through any references listed to determine where the information came from.
- For more information, see the following sites: