Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

University Libraries


More research tools:

In accordance with the executive order of Governor Whitmer, all University Libraries buildings are closed until further notice. We continue to provide support online for GVSU students, faculty, and staff through our online services.


Self-Service Help: Resource Market

Q. Authority


"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



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?


Consider browsing this helpful handout: 

1. Evaluating Sources

Ready to try the next phase? We can help you at any of the STEPS along the way!


Want to chat with someone who can help? Book a consultation today! 


This information is brought to you by the Grand Valley Knowledge Market


  • Last Updated Mar 13, 2020
  • Views 0
  • Answered By Francesca Golus

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0   0