Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources
|This page documents an English Wikipedia |
|This page in a nutshell: This guideline discusses how to identify reliable sources. The policy on sourcing is |
Wikipedia articles should be based on
The guideline in this page discusses the reliability of various types of sources. The policy on sourcing is
Contentious material about living persons (or,
in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.
In the event of a contradiction between this guideline and our policies regarding sourcing and attribution, the policies take priority and editors should seek to resolve the discrepancy. Other policies relevant to sourcing are
Articles should be based on reliable,
The word "source" when citing sources on Wikipedia has three related meanings:
Any of the three can affect reliability. Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both. These qualifications should be demonstrable to other people.
The term "
The reliability of a source depends on context. Each source must be carefully weighed to judge whether it is reliable for the statement being made in the Wikipedia article and is an appropriate source for that content. In general, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication. Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable; editors should cite sources focused on the topic at hand where possible. Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in the Wikipedia article.
Especially in scientific and academic fields, older sources may be inaccurate because new information has been brought to light, new theories proposed, or vocabulary changed. In areas like politics or fashion, laws or trends may make older claims incorrect. Be sure to check that older sources have not been superseded, especially if it is likely the new discoveries or developments have occurred in the last few years. In particular,
Sometimes sources are too new to use, such as with
With regard to historical events, older reports (closer to the event, but not too close such that they are prone to the errors of breaking news) tend to have the most detail, and are less likely to have errors introduced by repeated copying and summarizing. However, newer secondary and tertiary sources may have done a better job of collecting more reports from primary sources and resolving conflicts, applying modern knowledge to correctly explain things that older sources could not have, or remaining free of bias that might affect sources written while any conflicts described were still active or strongly felt.
Sources of any age may be prone to