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Chapter 19. Cast a Critical Eye > An Embarrassment of Riches - Pg. 215

Cast a Critical Eye 215 Who's the Boss?: Authority Don't believe that all sources are created equal, because it's just not so: Some sources are more equal than others. That's because they were prepared with greater care by experts in the field and have been reviewed by scholars, teachers, and others we respect for their knowledge of the subject. Don't be afraid to make value judgments about the source materials you find. Some sources are more reliable than others. As a result, they carry greater authority and will help you make your point in your research paper. You can use the following checklist to weigh the authority of the material you're contemplating using: Is the author named? Unless you're working with an encyclopedia article or an editorial, the author should be credited in a by-line. Are the author's credentials included? Look for an academic degree, an e-mail address at a college or university, and/ or a list of publications. Based on this information, can you conclude that the writer is qualified to write on this subject? For example, is the person an expert or an eyewitness to the events described in the source? In addition, does the person have a good reputation in this field? Was the source well-reviewed by other recognized authorities in the field? (Was the source even reviewed at all?) Is the source complete, or have certain facts been cut for their controversial nature or for space limitations? Does the author document his or her claims with other source materials? Are these sources credible? Write Angles