When researching information on a topic, it is important to understand the value of research and quality sources. Research is carried out for a number of reasons. While you may have general knowledge of various subject matters, sources that you retrieve from research allows you to test your assumptions so you don’t unintentionally give out wrong facts and other information.

Writing an article that is properly sourced tells your readers a few things. It tells them that you have done the proper research on the subject matter, it adds value to your article and it provides your readers helpful information for them to research further at a later time. Sources also allow you to give credit to researchers and acknowledge their ideas. With so much information readily available over the Internet, how do you know what is an official source and what is not? There are many trusted Internet sources that are often inaccurate. What differentiates an official source from an unofficial source?

Official Source vs. Unofficial Source
Simply using Internet search engines to research is very risky. While some Internet sources are official and authoritative, such as government web sites and academic institutions, many are usually not. Many trusted Internet sources often provide inaccurate information through free-content sources and blogs. For example, Wikipedia is widely used by many for research purposes; however, it is not authoritative or official because there is no way to verify authorship. Wikipedia’s platform also allows anyone to edit an entry at any time. Official sources are reliable, credible resources based on a number of factors. It is a body of work created by an authoritative figure in its field, an authoritative figure that is widely recognized and considered an expert.

Unofficial sources are the complete opposite of official sources. Content retrieved from unofficial sources come from someone who is not an authoritative figure or an expert in the industry. Unofficial sources may contain content that is not original, rather it is borrowed from another source through an RSS feed. The content retrieved from an unofficial source is also often unverifiable. The information found in these types of sources is typically out of date containing old, invalid links. An unofficial site may look unprofessional and contain spelling and grammar errors. It is also not uncommon for unofficial sites to have a more commercial feel and agenda. In addition to providing minimal information, they can also promote and sell their products.

Benefits of Official Sources
When writing online content for a client or a personal blog, it is important to present meaningful, factual information. Using official sources to write articles will help you create content that readers respect and trust. Authoritative sources also help support any valid claims that you make in your article. Back up those statistical numbers, facts and additional claims with a reliable resource. Since official sources are more authoritative and accurate, the information offered from them is typically more in depth, up-to-date and relevant information.

There is very little control over the information that is posted online. Regardless of the topic, it is necessary to do research and find official sources. Always evaluate the quality and trustworthiness of the information that you locate on the Internet to make certain that it provides reliable consumer information. Evaluating various sources to use for research and writing is an important skill. Oftentimes, determining if a source is official takes a little detective work. It is not always easy to find this information. Content from official sources help correct any misconceptions.

Using official sources will not only help writers to provide information that supports their writing, it will give users authority over the topic in question.