Thesis Writing Help Online: Choosing Credible Sources

How do you know when a source is reliable or not? During the reading of your thesis, if your professor finds a dubious source that lacks credibility, your whole argument is likely to fall away. Here are ways to avoid this and find sources that make your thesis arguments stick together nicely.

The theory of consensus

If the majority of experts agree on something, that’s called a consensus. If you want to find out if your facts are the consensus, you need to do two things:

  • First, find out who the authoritative experts are in that specific field.
  • Second, get their opinions and see which ones match up with which.

If you find a general consensus between three or more published authorities, you can usually feel safe enough to use it as a reliable resource—without having to necessarily quote all of the sources you checked.

A word on published opinion

It’s important that you learn to distinguish between opinion and fact. Opinion is based on what someone perceives to be true, or what they have experienced themselves. This is not to be considered fact.

For example: If a woman claims to have a vision that she went to visit heaven, she is the only person who can verify this fact—thereby making it personal experience as opposed to fact. Fact is always backed up by evidence, or witnesses who can verify the claim.

Measuring the authority of your source

Authority can be measured in three ways:

  • Evidence to back it up
  • Witnesses to verify a claim
  • A claim coming to fulfilment , thereby verifying the source as credible

The more evidence and witnesses you can get to verify a claim, the more authority that source will hold.

Accompanying evidence

Even when someone else has done the legwork and created a stable source that can be backed up, it’s important that you as the student—when quoting that source—find your own evidence to back it up. This simply strengthens your case and shows that you are making it your business to also generate evidence to support the same claims that support yours.

Creating your own sources

A great way to come up with sources is by conducting your own experiments or interviews. There’s nothing wrong with putting forth the results of an experiment when you did it yourself, because you will carefully detail that experiment; and maybe even include someone else to witness it with you.