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Evaluating Authority

Evaluating the authority of a business source involves assessing the reputation and credentials of authors and publishers or the organizations making data and analysis available.  The level of scrutiny applied should vary depending on how the source is used.

The type of publication informs how to judge the credentials of the author.  For example. expect the authors of scholarly, academic research studies to have PHD's and appointments as faculty to Universities or research institutes.  The relative status of an academic is impacted by the reputations of where his PHD was granted or where she has faculty status. U.S. Universities typically rank faculty as follows;professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor or lecturer, post-doctorial fellow or researcher.    Academic researchers with many publications in highly regarded journals and or whose work generate lively reviews, debate and frequent citation have the highest status.

Authors of business related reports, practical advice or opinions don't necessarily have advanced degrees.  When judging these authors pay close attention to the authors area of expertise.  Journalists that specialize in a given industry or disciple are generally more reliable than those that are generalists.  Ascertain if the author is on staff, free lance or a volunteer.  What the author has done or accomplished may be the best guide to the value of her opinion.  Look for telling details about the authors professional history.

If the firm publishing a report or data is not a household name such a Nielsen for audience measurement or Fitch. Moody's or Standard & Poor's for credit ratings find out what the organization is best know for, what it's track record is and how long it has been in operation.  Do this by searching general business news and checking out company reports or profiles.

lhauck Linda Hauck
Business Librarian
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Falvey Library, Room 222


Last Modified: 2018-04-11 11:39:28