you can trust an author?
is a difficult problem, but it is helpful to look
at an author's credentials.
Credentials are proof that
other experts in
the field recognize the author
as a peer.
are several types of credentials:
order to achieve educational credentials, the
author has to have proven
his/her expertise to other experts
in the field
credentials have differing
degrees of value. A PhD is a
sign of more expertise than a Master's degree.
Except for a few fields in which a Master's
degree is the terminal (highest) degree, most
authoritative scholars have a PhD
are people who are recognized
as outstanding in their field
Sometimes they are the recipients of awards
(like the Pulitzer Prize)
Sometimes they are identifiable through their
(such as Chief Information Officer for Motorola
or President of Amnesty International)
with leadership credentials may or may not have
educational credentials, but leaders have
that gives them authoritative expertise
people gain authority through their affiliations
gain some authority for their academic
posts and affiliations
with institutions of higher
learning or think tanks
A professor on the faculty of Harvard has a
more authoritative presence than a professor
at a community college because getting a faculty
appointment at Harvard is much more
competitive than getting a faculty
appointment at a community college
credentials do not provide authority across the
board but apply
to a specific area of expertise.
An author with a PhD in Physiology is not necessarily
qualified to write about parenting skills. The
President of Amnesty International is not necessarily
qualified to recommend medical procedures. A faculty
member at Harvard School of Business is not necessarily
qualified to talk about the Holocaust.