Contemporary Canadian Government & Politics:
A Practical Research Guide

Introduction   Starting   Clarifying   Bibliographies   Finding & Evaluating
Primary Sources   Special Topics   Citing Sources   Ask Your Librarian!   Detailed Table of Contents
HOME
4. Finding and Evaluating Substantive Information
Finding Information Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information: Authors

Books Articles Internet Sites Writing Annotations/Reviews

Determining the authority and objectivity (the affiliation, qualifications, background, or bias) of an author is an important part of evaluating a text, but can also be the most difficult to do with certainty. Follow the tips for checking Authority and Objectivity provided in the TACO checklist on how "To Evaluate Books", and, for well-known authors, the sources listed in Section 2 on "People" like the Who’s Who Directories. Search for book reviews. The better reviews will comment on the author's background or expertise.

For authors of a current book or article, you can try to find out how they are affiliated with an institution mentioned or hosting the web page by checking the organization's web site and looking for an e-mail directory or staff list, or use the search engine at the site to search for the person's name.

If no institution is given, you can check a professional or faculty directory to see if the author is a professor at a university. The university's web site may have information on their faculty, or web pages created by faculty, that will help you see what their areas of expertise are. Information provided can include a short biography, CV, etc.

Directory of Political Scientists in Canada. Ottawa: CPSA. Annual.
Includes members of the Canadian Political Science Association and La Societe quebecoise de science politique. It also lists political science graduate programs in Canadian universities and their faculty.
National Faculty Directory. Detroit, MI.: Gale Research, 1970 - . Annual.
This directory lists teaching faculty at educational institutions in North America, with their department, address and telephone number. You can use this directory to find out if an author is a professor, and where they work; you can then go to the university's web site to find out more.

NOTE: NOT finding a person in a directory does not mean they are not a faculty member. Directories like these take time to update and are rarely entirely comprehensive.

Internet Search Engines. Search for the name in quotation marks to make sure the first and last name are searched together. NOTE: There are very few unique names! Unless you can match the name with other information you have about the author, you cannot be sure that the information found refers to the same person. Try searching the name in quotes with the title of the work in quotes.

Books Articles Internet Sites Writing Annotations/Reviews
Finding Information Evaluating Information
Back to theTop
HOME
Introduction   Starting   Clarifying   Bibliographies   Finding & Evaluating
Primary Sources   Special Topics   Citing Sources   Ask Your Librarian!   Detailed Table of Contents

Created and maintained by Anita Cannon, Librarian
R. P. Bell Library   Mount Allison University   Mount Allison Centre for Canadian Studies
Last Updated: July 31, 2007
Copyright©2001-2008