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College Research Literacy Summer 2019--Demonstration

For demonstration purposes

Welcome to Week 4: Authority is Constructed & Contextual

Authority is Constructed & Contextual

This week you will need to complete the following:

  1. Pre-test --  0 points;  @ 1 minute
  2. Introduction & Quiz -- 5 points; @ 5 minutes
  3. Video & Quiz -- 5 points; @ 5 minutes
  4. Reading Assignment, Quiz & Exercises -- 5 points; @ 40 minutes
  5. Tutorial & Quiz -- 5 points; @ 15 minutes
  6. Learning Activity #1: Evaluating Articles in Databases  -- 10 points; @ 15 minutes
  7. Learning Activity #2: Evaluating Websites  -- 5 points; @ 20 minutes
  8. Learning Activity #3: Investigating Authority  -- 5 points; @ 15 minutes
  9. Class Discussion -- 5 points; @ 2 minutes
  10. Conclusion to Week 4 & Post-Test -- 5 points; @ 2 minutes

Please take the pre-test below before completing any of the activities for this week.

Please watch the video below before answering the quiz questions.  It gives an introduction to this week's framework: Authority is Constructed & Contextual.

Adapted from: Burkhardt, J. (2016). Teaching information literacy reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

Please watch the video below and answer the questions after.  It gives an introduction to this week's framework: Authority is Constructed & Contextual.

OkStateLibrary. (2016). Inform Your Thinking: Episode 2 - Who do you trust and why? Retrieved from

Please read the chapter "Evaluate" and complete the reading quiz and exercises below.

There are exercises at the end of this weeks chapter in "Evaluating Resources in Practice" (pp. 73-77). Please read thru the information on the CRAAP test. The exercises are a part of the reading quiz below.

If you prefer to view this quiz in a full-screen mode use this link:

Please work through the tutorial below and then answer the quiz questions.

Question authority. (2016). Retrieved from

Please watch the video, complete the worksheet and answer the questions in the quiz below.

Please download and complete the worksheet before answering the questions below. You don't have to turn in a copy of the worksheet, it is to help you answer the questions in the quiz.

Please watch the video below and then complete the activity.

There are three sections of the activity, be sure to complete all three to receive full credit.

If you would like to view this section as a full webpage, click this link:

Adapted from McAdoo, M. L. (2015). The student’s survival guide to research. Chicago: Neal-Schuman

Credentials That Confer Authority

Who is an authority? How do you know? What is it that makes a person an authority? Are there different standards of authority for different subjects? How does one get to be an authority on a subject? How much authority do you need?

When you have a research questions, you want to find an answer that is both accurate and reliable. One wasy to ensure that the information you select is accurate and reliable is to get that information from someone who is an authority on that subject. But what makes a person an authority?

Here are some criteria:

  1. Education or training: Someone who has had a lot of education in the field in question is likely to know a lot about the subject. They have had the time to study both the general and the specific aspects of the subject. They have taken many classes and done lots of homework related to the subject.
  2. Expertise: Someone with expertise has had a lot of practice doing what they doe. A certain amount of authority comes with expertise.
  3. Experience: Someone with experience is likely to have practical knowledge about the subject. They may have applied academic or other training to real-life situations and thus become an authority. 
  4. Recognition: Someone may become a 'recognized authority' because of awards won, titles conferred, research completed and so on.
  5. Charisma: Someone may be so convincing that people simply want to believe what that person tells them.
  6. Institutional authority: Some people gain authority from the institution they work for. The reputation of the institution confers some authority on the individuals who belong to that institution.
    Let's look at some specific examples: 

Education or Training:

  • An engineer who designs bicycles might have studies the shape and mechanical workings of the bicycle, physics of how the bicycle operates, the kinesiology of the rider, the logistics of creating bike lanes and bike paths the best surfaces for for different kinds of tires, the safety issues and so on. In-depth education and training can help make a person an authority or expert on a subject.


  • This is often the only credential people use to decide whether someone has authority, but is it really enough in all situations? How much knowledge is enough? Researchers have determined that an average of 10,000 hours of focused practice to become an expert. The perceived authority of an expert may vary depending on the person seeking the information. For example, if you wanted to know how much to inflate the tires on your new bike, you could find the answer in a number of places: a store that sells bikes, a website about bikes and tires, a friend who rides bikes and you could even ask that engineer who has studied bikes in depth!


  • Someone with experience could be an authority. For example, we could assume that Chris Froome, a winner of the Tour de France, probably know a great deal about the parts of the bicycle and what makes it operate. His experience riding bicycles is what makes him an authority. J.K. Rowling has a lot of experience writing successful books. She knows how to tell a story, create characters, use language and imagination. Her experience with writing is part of what make her an authority about writing.


  • By virtue of the work a person has done in the past, some followers may recognize someone as an authority. The judges on the show, The Voice, have recognition as singers and are recognized as authorities about singing and performing.


  • Authority may be conferred to someone whose message is so compelling that people consider it true or accurate. This belief might only be based on the convincing nature of the delivery of the message or it might be because the message answers a vital question for the listener. Very often other criteria may be disposed of based on the persona of the person delivering the message.

Institutional Authority:

  • You may assume a higher level of authority based on the origin of the message. Information from a police officer will have more authority than a on-looker or passer-by's opinion.

Adapted from  Burkhardt, J. (2016). Teaching information literacy reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

You will need to login to our Blackboard class to participate in our class discussion.  Please answer the question posted and interact with other students' or instructors' posts to receive credit.

This week's discussion question:

Question: How will the skill of being able to evaluate information resources change the different types of research you do? Please give an example related to school work and one related to your life outside of school.

Reliability of information sources is not something that you can take for granted or assume has already been done for you.

  • Different types of resources, such as websites, require you to use different criteria to evaluate.
  • Who we consider to be an expert depends on why we need the information.
  • The intended use for an information resource affects the type and location of the information we collect.
  • Being able to effectively evaluate and use information sources is a valuable skill in all areas of our lives.

The important thing to remember when evaluating resources is that you should learn to examine the evidence and determine the purpose of the information before using it.

Please complete the post-test over Authority is Constructed & Contextual below.