The author’s credibility is essential in deciding whether you should use the source. What authority does the author have? Does she have formal competencies, is she associated with an academic institution, does she show knowledge on the field of research and is she basing her conclusions on credible sources?
The Internet allows everyone to publish anything they want. It is easy and affordable, and therefore information found on a webpage may not always be written by experts. The information may be inaccurate or completely wrong. Most webpages do not have editors or specialists who review what is published.
- Find information on the author’s academic background. What education does the author have? Is there any other information about the author?
- Search for the author online and cross-reference the author’s information.
- Does the author have the right qualifications to say something about the subject at hand?
- If the source is published as academic work, then check if the author has a background as a researcher. Try to find the author’s affiliation. Most researchers are affiliated to universities, university colleges or research organizations.
- Is the responsible author a person, an organization, or a public agency?
- Has the author written other things on the same subject? Check the publications by searching for the author in Oria or other library databases (In ISI Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar, you can see who has cited the author).
- Is the author anonymous? This may weaken the author’s credibility.