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People often wonder what sites/sources are good to quote and what are not. This question, sadly, is too simplistic because some sites and individuals are good for some topics and not so good for others. As a rule of thumb, ask yourself “what type of person would I want to hear to believe the argument I’m making?” If it’s statistical, get an economist or statistician. If it’s historical, get a history or sociology professor. If it’s legal, get a lawyer. The question, then, of what you need, determines the type of source you are getting.

The type of organizations that produce credible evidence are journals (which are usually peer-reviewed), books, non-partisan research groups devoted to your subject, and universities. Government sources are often useful as well, depending on the topic.

Our source criteria at Ethos stipulate that the order of preference for sources is:

  1. Peer reviewed journals in the field written by multiple authors with experience or advanced degrees.
  2. Peer reviewed law journals, since these folks research and footnote to all kinds of other credible people.
  3. Professors/PhDs publishing their personal views.
  4. Experienced individuals in the field.
  5. Reporters/Journalists quoting the above types of people.
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