The easiest way to check the credibility of an author who claims expertise is to "Google it!"
Google the author's name (in quotes) along with the topic or publication.
If your author is a news reporter, other articles by the same author may appear in your results. What publications do they write for? Are these publications that would expect unbiased coverage?
If your author is a subject expert, you should see professional affilations and writings in your results. What universities, businesses, and organizations is your subject connected to? What scholarly journals have they published in?
If no author is evident on the website, check the credibility of the sponsoring web site. If you "author" is an organization or business, you should find a page that oulines the mission or agenda of that group. Does the group have something to gain from publishing the article. Would that gain bias their sponsorship in anyway.
If you are looking at a Wikipedia, take the time to review the history and discussion pages for info on editing contributors and disputes that threaten credibility.
The same techniques can be used to check the opinions presented within an article by experts interviewed by the author.
Identifying the author is not always easy. In fact, the person(s) responsible for a resource are not even always authors. They may be editors. Or others. They may even be a group of people who identify as a single entity (such as a corporation or organization).
Still, identifying the author is KEY establishing source credibility.
Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin
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