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"authority, n. An authoritative piece of writing. A book, passage, etc., accepted as a source of reliable information or evidence, esp. one used to settle a question or matter in dispute; an authoritative book, passage, etc. Now chiefly with for and overlapping with sense." OED
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The term "authority" can be used to describe a source or an author.
- An article that has been cited many times by experts in the field has more authority than an article that is questioned and draws concern from experts in the field.
- An author that has conducted research and published articles for 30 years on freshwater algae, for instance, has more authority on the topic than an undergraduate student writing a lab report.
To evaluate the authority of a resource or author, ask yourself:
- Who is the author, and what is their background?
- Where was the article published?
- Is it a magazine, newspaper, or journal article?
- Is the journal scholarly, academic, pr peer-reviewed?
- Is this resource accepted and cited by others in the field?
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