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Unfortunately there is no easy checklist to consult to see if a source is credible or reliable. As with all information resources, the usefulness of the information may depend on what was needed in the first place.
Consider asking yourself some of these questions when evaluating a source:
Adapted from Hammett, P. (1999). Teaching Tools for Evaluating World Wide Web Resources. Teaching Sociology, 27(1), 31-37.
Used with permission, from Sonoma State Library's researchology page.
Thanks to Felicia Palsson.
When using a book, article, report, or website for your research, it is important to gauge how reliable the source is. Consider the following when looking at any information source:
Is it scholarly?
It can be a tough job to discern whether an information source is accurate or good research, which is one reason why your instructors and librarians require or encourage you to look at scholarly (academic) sources.
The main purpose of scholarly publications is to report on original research to make the information available to the rest of the scholarly world. In other words, their audience is other scholars, researchers, and people in academia: including YOU.
Here are some tips to getting your hands on scholarly information:
"In a nutshell: You should not use Wikipedia by itself for primary research (unless you are writing a paper about Wikipedia)."
--from Wikipedia article: Researching with Wikipedia