Answered By: Mark Robison
Last Updated: Jun 22, 2018     Views: 4652

Hi there,

Great question!  (I wish more people asked this.)  I think the two most important things to consider when deciding that a print source is reputable are "Who wrote it?" and "How can I confirm what they are saying?"

Here's an easy, cut-and-dry example: A blog post written by a mysterious or unqualified author, with no citations/footnotes/quotes and with clear bias is probably a disreputable source.  An article written by a professor at a university or by a real journalist, with lots of citations and footnotes, published by a journal or publication with a long history of publishing is probably a reputable source.  Here's an example of a terrible source.  Here's an example of a reputable source.  

Some reputable sources: national newspapers (New York Times; Washington Post); large, popular magazines (Time; Newsweek); scholarly journals (peer-reviewed); and academic books (most of our non-fiction books in Gorgas are written by academics and scholars).

Some sources to avoid: newspapers and magazines with obvious political leanings; smaller newspapers and magazines, which might not go through rigorous editing; books published by smaller publishers or that include bad/no research or citations.

I hope this helps -- the answer is not always so clear.  If you would like help more specific to your assignment and its sources, I'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

Best wishes,

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