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Authority and Authorship in context

Authority and Authorship in context

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Authority and Authorship in context

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  1. Authority and Authorship in context Evaluating Resources and Information TRU 110 Self and Society Seminar: Hot House September 12, 2019

  2. Methods of Evaluating Authority • Book Reviews • Determine the value of a book for your research by examining the reviews and recommendations of others in the field • Scholarly and peer-reviewed journals often contain entire sections of book reviews, with some review several pages in length • Use TruSearch and article databases to find reviews; many have checkboxes to limit to this content • Popular magazines and newspapers also review books • Remember that these reviews are often subjective and biased; it is best to consult a number of reviews to form an opinion on a book

  3. Evaluating Authority (cont’d) • Biographical Information • Use online and print sources to determine information about the background of authors and scholars • Limit to reference sources in TruSearch to find information in encyclopedias and dictionaries • Access Biography Resource Center for references to biographies and Literature Resource Center for full-length biographies of writers • The Articles & Research Databases page contains a listing for specifically for Biography

  4. Evaluating Authority (cont’d) • At any given time there are a number of “hot-button” issues that consume society and the media • Opinion pieces, newspaper editorials, blogs, and websites (among other media) all comment on this issues, some with at least the aim of objectivity, others with intent to spin the narrative (and often the facts) to their viewpoint • Expressing an opinion or viewpoint is not a bad thing but those presenting it should be up front about it

  5. Evaluating Authority (cont’d) • Websites are especially in need of analysis and evaluation since there are no standards or editorial principles that govern them • Anyone with access to a server can mount a web site or post to a blog with no controls on the content • A user must examine these sources for relevance, accuracy and timeliness and seriously consider the qualifications of those creating them

  6. Evaluating Authority (cont’d) • The RADAR Method • A method of quickly evaluating a resource for its usefulness in a research project • Components of RADAR • Relevance: Importance of the information for your needs • Authority: Source of the information • Date: Timeliness of the information • Appearance:Reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content • Reason: What is the author/sponsor’s purpose in creating or producing the information

  7. Example – Book Reviews • You have come across books on climate and you want to determine if they could be useful to your research • A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States • The United States in a Warming World • Find book reviews • Search the title (or portions of the title) in TruSearch • Limit your results to Book Reviews as content (these are typically excluded at the beginning of the search • Examine the book reviews that come up from various journals and publications • Note that many of these are review in newspapers and a smaller number are from scholarly journals and magazines

  8. Book Reviews (cont’d) • Other subject databases at also contain book reviews • Business Source Premiere • America: History and Life • Literature Resource Center • SocIndex • Wall Street Journal • Consider where you would access reviews for these works • Dowd, Kevin K. Alchemists of Loss: How Modern Finance & Government Intervention Crashed the Financial System. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley, 2010. • Newman, Janet and Nicola Yates, eds. Social Justice: Welfare, Crime and Society. New York: Open University Press, 2008. • Tomalin, Claire. Charles Dickens: A Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2011.

  9. Examples - Biography • Literature Resource Center • Search for biographies of the author/historian Stephen Ambrose by typing the name in the search box and selecting “Person – By or About” from the drop-down box • Limit further by selecting biographies under content type • Biography Resource Center • Search for the writer Walter Isaacson • Examine the different publications that come up as biographical material

  10. Examples – Web Evaluation • http://www.takepart.com/flashcards/what-is-climate-change/index.html • https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-k4.html • https://www.coolearth.org/