Determining Academic Credibility

There is an abundance of material accessible for students today. It is important to examine this material critically to ascertain its quality before reading it and using it as support for an assignment.

Types of reading materials

  • Internet
  • Journals
  • Text books
  • Newspapers
  • CD ROMs
  • Encyclopaedias
  • General test for credibility

If the piece of material satisfies all or most of the criteria below it can be considered academically credible.

  • Do the author(s) seem qualified?
    Examine the qualifications of the author/s if any have been supplied. Are they qualified in the field in which they are writing? Are they in a position to research in the field?
  • Is the material current?
    Check the year in which the material was published. Also turn to the List of References for the material. Are most of the references dated in the last 10 years? If so the material is considered current.
  • Is the material well researched?
    Examine the references in the List of References. Are there at least a number of references that have been published in refereed journals? Refereed journals are ones where a volume number or issue number have been supplied. Check the publishers of the references that are books. Do they seem reputable? Are they government or university publishers or are they well known?

If the material seems to be credible by meeting all or most of these criteria, you can confidently use it as support in your assignments.

Making notes and summarising provides additional advice on how to make notes on your researched material.