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Article Credibility Checklist

After writing my last blog post, I realized that it may still be difficult to determine which online articles represent fact or fluff. So, I created an article credibility checklist! This tool is designed to measure the credibility of articles that discuss findings from research studies. By using this tool, you should be able to distinguish between trusted versus poor quality sources of information.

The article credibility checklist consists of ten “yes” or “no” statements. To use this tool pick an online article that describes a research study and select either “yes” or “no” for each statement. If you are unsure of which response to select, go with your gut. Once you’ve read through and checked each statement, tally all of your “yes” responses. The final score will help you assess the credibility of the article you read.

It should be noted that if your article does not receive a high score, it doesn’t mean the information is false. What this indicates is that the source may not be that reliable. In this scenario, you should read the original publication to better understand the findings. Alternatively, you could find another online article that better describes the research study if you do not have access to the original article.

Below are the ten statements for the article credibility checklist:

1. The author specifies the researcher/s who conducted the original study
2. The article include references, citations, and / or links to support their claims
3. The article is written in a fair and neutral manner that is free from exaggeration
4. You can find the original study based on the information provided
5. You know how many people participated in the original study
6. You can make reasonable conclusions from the information provided
7. The article was published by a trustworthy source
8. The content of the article appears to be accurate, factual, and recent
9. The article appears to be free from bias and objective
10. The findings can be supported by other sources

The scoring guide below helps you determine the credibility of your source.

0-2 Questionable —The article is likely missing key information from the original study. It is unlikely that the information was reported in an objective and unbiased manner. Thus, it is unclear whether the source can be trusted.
Advice: See if you can find another article on this topic or the original source.

3-4 Poor — The article may be based on solid research, but the author doesn’t provide sufficient details about the study. There is room for improvement in how the study is described and the findings are shared. As a result, it is likely that the credibility of the article cannot be fully trusted.
Advice: See if you can find another article on this topic or the original source.

5-6 Average The article is adequate in how it presents the original study and contains some useful information. You can probably identify who conducted the study and find the original study. Therefore, you can trust the credibility of this article, but there are likely better articles on this topic Most articles that you evaluate with the article credibility checklist will receive this score.
Advice: Trust the content of this article, but consider exploring other articles on this topic to get the full story.

7-8 Good The article represents a credible source. You can trust that the author tried to convey the original article in an unbiased and accurate manner. While the article doesn’t provide all the information you may want from the original source, it provides sufficient detail to understand the basic tenets of the research. The author likely cited their sources and connected the reader to additional information to support their claims.
Advice: Trust the content of this article.

9-10 Excellent — The article represents a credible source. You can trust that the author conveyed the original article in an objective, unbiased, detailed, and accurate manner. It is likely that this article is from a well-established source that vets their authors carefully. The author and article are both credible and provide reliable information.
Advice: Congratulations! This article is the next best thing after the original study!

For additional information on vetting the credibility of online articles, check out these other links and resources! There’s a lot of great materials out there!

Feel free to contact me with any research and evaluation questions or needs at annette@researchevaluationconsulting.com

4 Responses so far.

  1. Annette,

    Thanks so much for posting this! Oftentimes there are research-based claims in articles that appear too extreme to be true. I think using this checklist is a great, quick way to see if the source can be reasonably trusted. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Smithe407 says:

    Good web site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a great day! ekfegfafeafeecgk

    • Annette says:

      Glad you found this website useful! I’ll have to speak with my web developer about ow to notify people whenever a new post is made.

  3. Smithb33 says:

    Thanks for the article, is there any way I can receive an email whenever you publish a new update?

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