Instructors asking you to use credible sources may also use Turnitin.com to evaluate your citations to see whether you use scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed, or popular. See the box below to determine whether a source is "scholarly" or "popular."
How do you judge whether a website is credible? Some of hallmarks of a credible website are:
Many of your college papers will require "peer-reviewed articles." The "peers" are experts in the same field as the author; for instance, physics professors will review a physics professor's article. A professor or other expert submits their article to the editor of a journal in their field. A psychology professor might submit an article to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. A physicist would submit a paper to Applied Physics journal. The editors of these academic journals then ask the authors' peers - other professors or experts in this field - to evaluate the submitted articles. Those experts then submit their comments and reviews back to the editor, who returns them to the author, who answers the criticisms and rewrites portions of the article to satisfy his "peer" reviewers.
This lengthy editorial review explains why peer-reviewed journals - also known as scholarly or academic journals - usually publish only four times a year. Your instructors expect you to find peer-reviewed articles. This means using limiters to narrow your search results in databases to find these articles. Librarians can help you with this. Databases vary greatly and each offers different features. We can't cover them all here, but we can use a search in one of the more widely used databases as an example. Start from the library's homepage. and click on the "Articles" tab, shown in black in the illustration below. From the left drop-down menu, we'll use a database that includes nearly 4,000 full-text, peer-reviewed journals, Academic Search Complete, highlighted in blue, above.