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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.


Substantive news articles are in depth reliable articles or books on topics of public concern written by journalists for major newspapers, or publishers. Articles are often illustrated, generally with photographs. Some substantive news periodicals may also contain shorter articles that fall into the "Popular" category.

Identifying substantive news articles

  • Content: Secondary discussion of someone else's research.  May include unsupported opinions.
  • Author(s): Author(s) are journalists writing as a career; they are paid for their content.  Generally not experts in subject field, but may be members of the editorial staff, scholars or free lance writers.
  • Credibility: Author's credentials are usually not provided.
  • Audience:  Geared for a general, but educated audience. Unlike scholarly articles, there is no specialty assumed, only interest and a certain level of intelligence.
  • Language: Tries to avoid specialized terminology used within the field.
  • References: A full bibliography will generally not be found, but authors will usually credit an information source or research study.