How Do We Trust That Which We So Readily Accept: Reputable vs. Non-Reputable Information

If you have come from my post on facts and opinions, welcome.

If not, welcome.

People absorb information. Oftentimes without wondering where that information came from.

’Tis the world we live in I suppose; where celebrities, politicians, companies, citizens can tap a screen, read a line, and believe to understand exactly what is happening in the world around them.

We far-too-often take in the information from the news, Snapchat stories, Facebook posts, Instagram advertisements without seeking where that information came from.

Even when we do go searching for a source, we cannot always trust it — between fake, biased, opinionated, or limited news.

I guess that’s what this post is really about: trust.

I won’t waste time to define trust; trust means different things to different people. The definition of trust is an opinion. It’s an abstract concept.

“It’s in the dictionary, though! That’s a factual definition.”

Even dictionaries have more than one definition. Look in the Oxford English Dictionary; it illustrates how a word has changed throughout time.

Sure, the dictionary is a trusted source and could be used in your argument to define trust.

Words are too much about connotation to really pin down direct definitions.

That’s why I have devoted my life to teaching the nuances of the craft of language.

There I go again; I said I wasn’t going to waste time, didn’t I…


This is a table I have made based on the sources available to us on the internet and in the vast world that is research.

If I assume correctly, you have come here to find a way to check whether or not your source or information is one you can use to prove your point.

Here’s one simple tool to use when testing the reliability of a source:

Here’s a website that delves into this issue of reliability of sources.

I could recreate it here, but I won’t.

Focus on the 5 C’s. That’s good stuff.

Here’s the link.

And here’s a worksheet I borrowed from a colleague — breaking down each of those 5 C’s into a workable handout for sources. It’s probably best to go through this for EACH source you are thinking about.

Is that a lot of work?


It’s work, however, that is worthwhile.

Does that chart and that handout and that website cover everything?

No. I’m only one person. (Except for the two other people I borrowed the information from.)

Is this chart and this handout and this website 100% accurate and every source that follows these criteria is reputable or non-reputable?

No. I’m just a person. (Except for the two other people I borrowed the information from.)

Will this help you find a source that is trustworthy enough to show off to your friend in an argument or to finally get your English teacher to believe that the information you have found for your paper is valid?


Happy Writing.

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