Credible sources are vital to establishing trust and brand loyalty (not to mention the way they speak of your writing skills). Credible sources validate claims and prove to the reader that you know your stuff. Unfortunately, the internet is full of misleading and inaccurate information. So how can you tell which sources are credible and which aren’t? And how do you cite credible sources once you do find them?
Here are a few tips on how to find and cite credible sources for your cannabis content.
Recognizing Credible Sources
Deceptive websites and publications are good at what they do. They know how to sound intelligent, appear official, and gain search engine approval. It is up to the reader (that’s you!) to see through all that to determine which sources are credible and which are incredibly outlandish. The following are a few questions to ask yourself to help you find credible sources for your writing.
Who is the Author?
If an author is listed, it suggests that they’re willing to stand by their work and may indicate that their content is reliable. Further determine author is well-known and respected in their field, if they’ve written about similar topics, or if they have additional credentials listed. It’s also important to consider the motivation of the writer. Is he personally invested in the topic? Does he have something to gain or lose if his readers accept his statements as fact? If so, this may indicate a bias that should be either confirmed or denied through further research.
Does the Source Go In-Depth?
Does the source dive deep into the topic at hand? Do they cite sources of their own or other research/data to back up their claims? If they do, it’s a good indicator that they are a reliable source. Furthermore, if an author engages with readers in the comment section, on social media, or through their own website or email address, this suggests that they are confident and eager to share their knowledge rather than just fill website pages for search engines.
What’s in a Domain?
Domain names like .com, .org, and .net can be purchased by anyone. Conversely, .edu or .gov domain names are exclusive to universities and government agencies, and typically indicate that the source is reliable. This isn’t to say that a source with a .com domain won’t be a credible site, it just takes a little more investigation to make sure they know their stuff.
What is Their Writing Style?
Scan the content for spelling and grammatical errors. If there is an excessive number of errors in the text, the source is likely unreliable. A credible source should ensure that its content is not only accurate but that it is presented in a way that is easy to understand and properly written. Credible sources write content targeted to their ideal readers, not search engines.
Citing Your Sources
Finding credible sources is the first step but certainly not the last. After collecting your sources and sharing the information gathered from them, you must cite the source in your content. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Below are the most common ways to cite sources in your writing.
When citing or quoting a source, always link back to the original work. To do this, highlight relevant text (usually three to six words long) then either right-click and select the “add link” option or click the hyperlink icon at the top of your text editor to do the same thing. In the “Add Hyperlink” window, select “open in new window” to ensure that anyone who does click won’t immediately be redirected off the page.
Parenthetical References, Endnotes, and Footnotes
Another way to cite sources is through the use of parentheses, endnotes or footnotes. This type of citation is often preferred by those who wish to keep all website visitors on the page or those who print the published content. Citation Machine is an online tool perfect for formatting parenthetical citations regardless of the expected format.
Finding and citing credible sources is crucial to the integrity of your writing. Without proper citations, your writing becomes just another piece in a sea of inaccurate and ill-informed articles online. But if you can master how to find and cite credible sources, it will raise your work above that of the masses and make you an invaluable writer.
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