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Reliable Resources

1. What is Reliable Resources?

Information is everywhere that you can see from newspapers, magazines, journals, library, organization, internet or persnal blog. However, not all of them is trusted for you to get idea for you essays or thesis such as persnal blog, personal writing that is not peer-reviewed by the scientists. As the result, there will be some facts for you to prove that it is a trusted resources or not:

  • Publishing source: 

    "This is an important fact to consider. If the source of the report or research is funded by an organization that has a vested interest in the results of the study, its reliability may not be as great as otherwise. For example, a study of the health effects of tobacco smoking funded by the American Tobacco Institute- a research organization funded by the tobacco industry - may not be as reliable as a similar study funded by the non-partisan National Institute of Health.

    Another aspect to consider is the potential for conflict of interest between the report and the source of support or the publisher of the material. For example, all of the impact assessment studies that monitor the release of pollutants are conducted by the potential polluters themselves. Therefore there is a conflict of interest between what is reported and who is reporting it. Such conflicts question the reliability of the study." (Cornel University Library)

  • Peer-reviewed papers: 

"Peer review means that the study and its results have been reviewed by a group of people with the necessary expertise to assess the merits of the work. Peer review is the system of "checks and balances" in science.

Peer review occurs in two contexts. First, there may be review of "factual" material, for example when a web site presents what is known about some medical condition. The second context is the publication of original research or a review of original research." (Cornel University Library)

  • Author:

You may ask these questions : Does the author have expertise on the subject? Is he affiliated with institutions that themselves appear to represent experts on the subject and that may not have a vested interest in the results?

How do you find out?

    • Look at the source to see if it tells you anything about the author's credentials.
    • Check a biographical source.
    • Many internet sources do not give the identity or credentials of the author or producer. Sources that do not give this information have questionable reliability.
  • Timelines: 

Knowing when the information was obtained or reported is important. Because scientific findings are happening all the time, some information can become "yesterdays news" very quickly. 

  • References:

Reliable sources of information provide references to the sources of information they are presenting. These references allow you to check the original information yourself to verify that it is being accurately conveyed.

2. Where to find the Reliable Resources?

According the above consider facts, you can have some idea about the reliable resources such as:

  • Dissertations and Newspapers: you can find in PROQUEST in our database.
  • Articles in social science and humanities, business, economics, and literature: you can look at JSTOR in our database.
  • Articles in natural sciences and applied sciences: you can look at Springer, IEEE, ScienceDirect, etc.
  • Open educational resources of Tan Tao University which is located in TTU Dspace.
  • Other open educational resouces from other university such as MIT, McGrill, Harvard... which is introduce in our library website.
  • Googlescholar, etc.

3. How to evaluate resources?

Purpose: You can have in mind such questions:

  • What is the purpose or motives of this sites?  (Educational, commercial, promotional,etc.)
  • Is the site trying to sell something?
  • How easy is it to differentiate ads from the content?
  • Base on your knowledge, is the information factual, opinion, propaganda, etc4


  • Is the author identifiable? (You can look up other links to figure out this)
  • Is there contact information for the author? 
  • What is the author background? 
  • Dose the author cite his resources?
  • Are any mis-spelling in the writting?
  • What the domain does the site belong to? (e.g., .edu, .gov, .com, .net, .org)

Reliability: this is the same as the considered facts as the above reliable resources.