Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Jun 05, 2019     Views: 851

There are many ways of tackling this question.

  1. Credentials
    • Use Google or to search both the author's name and resume or vita.
      • Is there a resume or curriculum vitae for the author that is available for you to review?
      • Who is publishing the resume or vita? Can you verify that what is claimed is real? Note: sometimes credentials are "spun" in a way that is misleading.
      • What academic degrees and credentials does the author have? Are those credentials related to the topic at hand?
      • What professional work experience does the author have? Are those experiences related to the topic at hand?
  2. Publishing History
    • Has the author published other works on the same topic? Does the author reveal a depth of knowledge in this area or just a passing interest?
      • Search the author's name in journal article databases.
      • Search the author's name in comprehensive catalogs like WorldCat.
  3. Reception by others in the field
    • How have the author's books or articles been received by other professionals in the field?
      • Book hint: look up reviews published in professional journals (pick a database that covers the field), in sources like Book Index with Reviews, or in online sources like (be careful to look at professional/editorial reviews, not just customer reviews).
      • Article hint: use a citation index (Social Sciences Citation Index, Science Citation Index, Google Scholar) to determine how often the article has been cited by other experts. Typically, the more times an article has been cited, the better.  Warning: be sure the article is not cited as an example of poorly done or faked research! Sometimes the infamous are cited frequently.

See also: How do I know if a source is credible?

See also: Where would I look to find publisher information for a book? 

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