Skip to Main Content

Credibility Continuum

With so much information readily available, how do you know what sources to trust? Use this guide to help determine the credibility of various information sources.

Overview and Definitions


While doing research for your assignments, you'll come across a variety of sources -- some of which are ideal for including in your paper or presentation, and others that are best left out. To help you determine the nature of a source, you can use the Credibility Continuum. Below are some examples of 

  • Scholarly: Articles or books written and reviewed by scholars or professionals who are experts in their field
  • Substantive News and Non-Fiction: In-depth, reliable articles or books on topics of public concern, written by journalists or authors for major newspapers, news magazines or publishers
  • Popular: Articles that reflect the tastes of the general public and are meant as entertainment
  • Advocacy: Articles or web pages from political parties, activist groups, or religious groups that promote a specific agenda
  • Personal: Blogs or personal web pages that reflect the opinions and interests of the author. May or may not be factually accurate
  • Sensational: Magazines such as the National Inquirer, TMZ, and Star that are intended to evoke curiosity or a strong reaction

It's important to note that some information can fall into multiple categories. A writer's Substack blog, for example, could incorporate both substantial research, and the author's personal opinions. Click the tabs on the left to learn more about each category of information.

Creative Commons License
The Credibility Continuum by Eric Shannon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.