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Information Literacy Instructional Toolkit: Frame 1: Evaluating Authority


"Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used.

Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required" (ACRL, Authority is Constructed & Contextual).


Relevant learning concepts:

  • How does one determine the credibility of a source?
  • What makes a source authoritative?
  • What points of view may be missing?
  • Whose voice does the information represent?


Source:  Bucknell University

Teaching Resources

Title: Evaluating Sources Rhetorically
Description:   Page 1: Questions for evaluating sources rhetorically; Page 2: Illustration of Bizup's BEAM model for rhetorical source use.
Resource Type: Handout
Original Author(s): Indiana University
Added: 11/08/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority


Title: Evaluating Authority
Description:  A two-minute video tutorial describing how to evaluate sources using the CRAAP test. Introductory level. Addresses print as well as online sources.
Resource Type: Video
Original Author(s): Western Libraries
Added: 09/15/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority


Title: The RADAR Challenge
Description: Using an online game format, students evaluate a sample article using the acronym RADAR (Rationale, Accuracy, Date, Authority, Relevance). Based on the RADAR Framework.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Loyola Marymount University Library
Added: 03/02/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority


Title: Science in the Media
Description: Small groups locate an article in the lay literature that reports scientific findings. Group must locate primary literature and comment on the accuracy of the lay article's portrayal.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Laura Massa
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s)Evaluating authorityParticipating in scholarly conversationsSearching effectively


Title: Credibility is Contextual (Research 101)
Description: An introductory video describing the importance of context to determine the trustworthiness of an information source. 
Resource Type: Video
Original Author(s): University of Washington Libraries
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority


Title: Evaluating Sources for Credibility
Description: An introductory video addressing these questions: What does it mean for a source to be credible? Why is it important to use these sources? How can you tell if a source is credible?
Resource Type: Video
Original Author(s): NCSU Libraries
Added: 05/31/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority


Title: Peer-Review (introductory)
Description: Using research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources. Learn how to peer review with an in-class activity and combine this activity with searching for scholarly articles in a general, multidisciplinary database.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original Author(s): Christina Heady & Joshua Vossler, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Added: 05/15/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority, Participating in scholarly conversations, Searching effectively


Title: Political Internet Literacy
Description: To help students find research articles about current events and politics; help them understand there are differences between articles written in general magazines, articles written in scholarly journals or for partisan political purposes, & help them understand the research process.
Resource Type: Lesson plan
Original Author(s): Jennifer Schwartz, DePaul University
Added: 05/15/2017 By:
Frame(s): Evaluating authority, Understanding the information lifecycle, Engaging in the research process, Participating in scholarly conversations, Searching effectively


Title: Process Cards (for teaching format as process) 
Description: This activity asks students to sort, discuss, and rank six information formats (tweet, blog, Wikipedia article, news article, scholarly article, and scholarly book) based on specific information creation processes (e.g., time, ease, research, editing, and length).
Resource type: Classroom activity
Original author(s): Kevin Seeber
Added: 02/13/2017
Frame(s): Evaluating authorityUnderstanding the information lifecycle


Title: The Source Deck
Description: This sample source deck provides examples as well as instruction on the various kinds of source types you can gather to illustrate various outcomes related to the topics of understanding source types, identifying parts of a citation, as well as understanding the publication timeline.
Resource Type: Classroom activity
Original author(s): Meagan Christensen, Todd Burks, & Meridith Wolnick (University of Virginia Library)
Added: 02/13/2017
Frame(s): Evaluating authorityUnderstanding the information lifecycleUsing information ethically