How To Evaluate Sources: Authority

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Why is Authority Important?

AUTHORITY- a person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert, as well as a book or other source able to supply reliable information or evidence, typically to settle a dispute.

  • Is the source identifiable?
  • Does the author/source have expertise in the subject?
  • Are they qualified to write about the subject?
  • Is there a sponsoring entity affiliated with the site?
  • Look for the name of the author or sponsoring entity.
  • Is there contact information available, such as a publisher or email address? 
  • Are the credentials or expertise of the source verifiable?

An example of authority: If a book or article is in your college or university library or is published by a reputable university press, or if an article is in a standard academic journal, that means that several academic scholars have considered the information and considered it worthy to publish. 

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Alexis Paperman