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BOS 101: Boston Childhoods: Evaluating Resources

What is Credibility and Why Does it Matter?

Source credibility is described by the Cambridge Dictionary as "the degree to which people believe and trust what other people and organizations tell them about a particular product or service." People are more likely to believe or be persuaded by sources that are credible and by papers that use credible sources. When analyzing your sources, use the TRAAPP method to make sure your sources are credible and helpful to your research.




When was the information published? Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well? Has the information been updated?




Can the information be verified in other sources? Where does the information come from? Is there a bibliography that lists the author’s sources of information? Can you find other information sources that corroborate the information?


Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? When faced with a large number of results, is this particular source more useful than the others that came up in your search?



Why does this information exist? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade? Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Who does this source seem to be directed at? Are there any biases present?


What information is provided about the author’s credentials? Is the author qualified in the subject area?




There is privilege in publishing whereby mostly white scholars/researchers have the opportunity to publish their research. Ask yourself, are they the only folks that might write or publish on this topic? Who is missing in this conversation?