Different periodicals cite sources in different manners. Generally, the more complete the citation, the easier it will be to track down and verify a given source. Sources that are incomplete or vague may be less reliable. It is also important to note sources credited in an article, as they may reveal certain biases in the information presented. For example, an article written about an emerging computer technology that consults only one computer manufacturer may be slanted in favor of that company.
|Cite sources in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies
|May refer to sources but not document them in any formal way
|Infrequently mention sources making information difficult to substantiate or trace
|Usually name sources but, in some instances, sources are kept confidential
This is a partial list of endnotes from an article in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The author has carefully documented the sources used in this article, which allows another researcher to trace the resources used in this project.
This excerpt from Sports Illustrated uses a statement from gymnast Christy Henrich that appeared the previous year in the The Independence Examiner, but does not fully document the source. The reader does not know from what article or even which issue this statement was taken.
This is an excerpt from a People Magazine feature about a convicted killer. It accredits a statement about the killer to an unnamed source, only identifying this person as a librarian who knew the criminal. It is difficult to evaluate this statement in respects to the killer, since the reader is unable to judge whether or not the source is reliable.
In this case the American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine serves as an authority.