Skip to Main Content

Finding credible information

Academic study requires you to be able to find, evaluate and use information from ‘credible’ sources.

Credible sources provide information that is factual and unbiased, and has been written by someone who is an expert in their field.

Indications that a source is credible include authority, accuracy, purpose, and currency. Consider the following:

  •     Are the author and publisher qualified, and do they have expertise in the subject area?
  •     Is the information accurate and is it supported by research, evidence, and references?
  •     What is the intent or purpose of the information?
  •     Is the information current or up to date or based on established knowledge, standards, or understanding?
  •     Is the information relevant for your purpose?  


This short video gives some great examples of how to evaluate the credibility of a source, and whether it is suitable for your purpose.

What are Primary and Secondary sources?

Primary information sources refer to original documents and raw data. Primary sources have not been edited or reinterpreted.  Primary information is considered the most reliable source of information.

Some examples are : clinical trials, eye-witness accounts or original artworks.


Secondary information sources refer to works that have been edited or reinterpreted.

Some examples are: news reports, social media commentary or journal articles that comment on research.  


Read more about Primary, Secondary (and Tertiary) sources.  

What about information found on the internet?

Anyone can publish information on the internet, so it is even more important to consider the Authority, Accuracy, Purpose and Currency of information found on websites.  

Identify the author or publisher. Avoid personal and anonymous authors or commercial websites. Check the content of the website for spelling, grammar, and obvious bias. Examples of credible websites may include websites published by professional organisations or government departments.  

URLs/Domains can help you identify the authority of a website. Consider the following:

.com indicates a commercial website

.org usually indicates a non-profit organisation, community or open access website

.gov indicates a government website

.edu indicates a website of an educational institution


If you need clarification about the credibility of a particular source, ask your Learning Facilitator or contact the library via Chat.