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Evaluating Sources: Determining the Author's Credibility

Credibility - Institutional or Personal?

The institution that publishes material (university, business, government) has a share in determining how much faith you should put in that source, but how about the individual author(s)?

Assessing Personal Authors, Part 1

If you are using a scholarly journal article, it is relatively easy to find author credentials.  Most scholarly journal articles give information about the author's academic career.  The place where the information is given may vary.  In scientific articles it is usually with or under the author's name.

view of a snippet from a scientific journal article, showing the academic credentials following author names

In humanities articles it may be at the bottom of the first page, or at the end of the article.


Assessing Personal Authors, Part 2

Here are some possible ways to find out about an author:

  • Look up the author in the library search or a subject database to see what else he/she has written.
  • Try looking up the author/article/book in Google Scholar. (It shows who has cited the work.)
  • Look up the author's name in the Literature Resource Center database (it has Contemporary Authors and other author information resources).
  • If you have the name of a university where the author is a faculty member, you can look him/her up on the university web site.
  • When in doubt, use Google.  See if the author has a web site with information.

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