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Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Authority is constructed within a particular field. Sources reflect the authors’ expertise and credibility, and need to be critically evaluated based on the context in which the information will be used. Learn more.
Key sentence: Novice learners may rely on basic indicators of authority, such as type of publication or author credentials, where experts recognize schools of thought or discipline-specific paradigms.
Learners who are developing their information literate abilities will be able to:
- define different types of authority, such as subject expertise, societal position or experience;
- determine the credibility of sources, judging elements that might impact this credibility;
- recognize that authoritative content may be packaged formally or informally and may include various media types;
- recognize the responsibilities of adding to scholarship, which includes: accuracy, reliability, and respecting intellectual property
Popular vs. academic authority
Present students with two articles from a database - one academic, one popular and compare.
Examine the author
Students are asked to describe how they would analyze and evaluate the authority of the author(s) of different types of information.
Evaluation criteria - student brainstorm
Groups are asked to brainstorm evaluation criteria, and add their list to a shared Google doc. Use the student-driven evaluation criteria to assess a few resources (i.e. tweet, open access article, website).
Authority - group discussion
Small groups discuss the authority of items.