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Where to look: print
Often a book or article will have some biographical information listed about the author. This can be found:
- in the beginning or introduction of the book.
- on the back cover or book jacket of the book.
- in an "about the contributers" section of a journal/magazine.
- at the beginning of the article as a kind of footnote
Where was the work published?
- It should tell you on the title page or cover of the book/journal. If it is an academic press or publisher, you know it is authoritative.
Authority: Who wrote it?
- Check the author's credentials. The author should have the appropriate education or training in the subject area being discussed.
- If the author has written a book, check to see if it is published by an academic press.
- If the author has written an article, check to see of it appears in an academic or peer review journal.
- If the author has produced a Website, check to see if it sponsored by the government or a university.
- Books published by an academic press, articles appearing in peer review journals, and Websites sponsored by the government or a university are generally regarded as being more reliable and as possessing greater authority.
Where to look: web
Look for an author's contact information or affiliation.
Sometimes information can be found in the "About Us" section on a webpage.
What type of organization is putting out the information? A company? A non-profit? A university? Sometimes you can tell by the URL domain (.com, .org, .edu).
Not finding anything? Do an Internet search for the author's name and see what you find out!