When you cite a source that is not your own research, you’re appealing to the work of others to support the claim you propose.
This appeal to the knowledge, observation, or conclusion of another person or persons, implies that some authority on the subject is held by the people cited.
In this we must be careful for although it is reasonable to do so given the wealth and of human knowledge and understanding, we’ve taken the argument out of our hands and into the hands of another.
If the person you’re debating refutes any part of the source then you’ve lost the position of authority to correct them. (Although this may or may not matter depending upon the credibility of their rebuttal. -Ed)
Another pitfall is when the credibility of the source is questioned. It might be argued that the source isn’t corroborated, that it relies on too small a sample to conclude anything definite, that it is made up, or that other research disproves the findings.
If the authority becomes refuted then it becomes fallacious to use the source as an authority. This state is know as the “appeal to authority fallacy”.
To make sure you’re on solid ground the source needs to be unrefuted, reviewed by other substanted authorities, unambiguous in it’s findings, based on research which meets standards expected by the scientific community, by someone who understands what they are concluding, and by someone who we can demonstrate to exist as described.
This standard of evidence ensures that as long as the people you are talking to can understand and properly comprehend the implications of the source, your argument has merit.