Difference Between Reliability and Credibility

Reliability vs Credibility

Since credibility and reliability seem to have somewhat similar meanings finding the difference between reliability and credibility can be a little hard. When we speak of people, law, and even different sources of information, we use the terms reliable and credible. We wonder how reliable a source is, and how credible a story is. In this sense, these two are not identical in meaning. Credibility refers to whether something can be believed as true and accurate. Reliability, on the other hand, refers to relying on someone or something or being able to have trust and faith. It is true that the two terms are similar to a certain extent, but they are not synonymous. This article attempts to clarify the difference between the two words.

What does Credibility mean?

When paying attention to the word credible, it can be defined as the ability to be believed in. Let us try to understand this through an example. You meet a friend at a cafeteria after a long time and she or he goes on about his new job, which seems almost too good to be true. After coming back, you might relate the incident to a family member and comment on the friend’s new job as an exaggerated version of reality or else as a made up story. In such an instance, you are questioning the credibility of the information that you just received by analyzing the facts that you have gained. So, if the information sounds out of context or false, we consider it as lacking credibility. If it is possible and we consider it to be true, we call it credible. Thus, when using the word credibility, one has to bear in mind whether the information can be believed or not.

What does Reliability mean?

This word, Reliability, denotes dependability, trust and faith in something or someone. Unlike in the first instance of credibility, the attention paid to whether the information is believable is less. Let us try to understand this through an example as well.

I rely on your good counsel.

When looking at this example, it highlights that the speaker depends on the advices of the person whom he or she addresses. It also highlights that the person trusts the individual who is being addressed. Even in situations where we say I rely on you, on her or him, all these denote the same fact of dependency. Let us take another example.

She is a very reliable person.

Once again, this means that the person is very trustworthy and on whom one can depend. So , through the explanations of the two terms what is apparent is that reliability focuses more on being able to rely on, depend on or trust whereas credibility is a question of being able to believe in something.

Difference Between Reliability and Credibility

What is the difference between Reliability and Credibility?

• Credibility refers to whether something can be believed as true.

• Reliability refers to relying on someone or something or being able to have trust and faith.

• If a piece of information is reliable then it is also credible. However, the information’ s credibility does not always guarantee its reliability.


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  1. Image of books by Carregado por Tom Morris (CC BY-SA 3.0)