Evaluating the Reputation of an Author

Read this article, which explores why and how to assess the reputation of an author.

The Reputation of the Author

Some information sources clearly indicate who is responsible for the work. This may be an individual author, a corporate author, or a sponsoring agency such as an association or organization. Others give no indication of authorship or responsibility. Without the basic knowledge of the author of a work, it is impossible to determine its authority.

 To establish the author's reputation carry out the following checks:

  1. Look for the author's biography on the back or inside of the cover (if available) or in the preface.
  2. Some web pages clearly show who compiled or produced the information, usually in a link to "About us", or "About this Site".
  3. Run a search on the author in a database.
  4. If the author is an organization, run a search in a directory of quality internet sources, check the "websites" section on your library subject guides to find the best in your subject.

If you cannot find out who the author is, or their level of expertise – do you really want to use the resource?


"Bias [mass noun] inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair: there was evidence of bias against black applicants | the bias towards younger people in recruitment. • a concentration on or ..." The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd Edition Revised)

In other words, when considering if there is bias, look for the following:

  • The purpose of the information
  • The coverage of the information
  • The language used

What is the Purpose of the Information?

Bear in mind that all information has a purpose. Whether that is to persuade, inform, or entice. Some information is published by authors or organizations to put forward a particular point of view. Be aware that this viewpoint may influence the content of the material. Publications from these organizations tend to reflect the views of their members and are less likely to be objective.

Source: Glasgow Caledonian University, https://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/smile/evaluation/assessinginformation/authorsreputation/
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Last modified: Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 2:20 PM