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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

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  • Last Updated Mar 13, 2020
  • Views 2
  • Answered By Francesca Golus

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