Author Credibility – Why Is It So Important?
Credibility is defined as the quality of being trusted. In literature, having a credible text means that the information therein is reputable and a trusted source for those looking for information on the subject. In this video, we will go over how to identify a credible text and explain why a text’s credibility is so important.
To ease the process of identifying a credible text, the RADAR Framework was developed to pinpoint the important qualities a text must have to be credible. Each letter in RADAR stands for a quality to look for in a piece of literature.
R = Rationale – What is the purpose of the text or why was it created? Can you detect any clear biases expressed in the text? A credible text does not try to push the author’s personal feelings on the reader. If there are opinions present, a credible text makes sure to tell both opposing sides of a story and not just the side the author may personally agree on.
A = Authority – Who is writing this text, and are they themselves a reputable source or well-informed expert on the subject? If you are searching for a text about physical chemistry, it’s better you use the source written by a physical chemist with a degree in that field than an author that saw one documentary on the subject and decided to write about it. Make sure the author of the text is well informed about the subject they are writing about.
D = Date – As we continue to acquire new information and understanding on subjects, our older texts become less reliable. For example, many credit Sigmund Freud for his theories that helped advance the field of psychology, but many who study and practice within psychology now would never utilize any of his theories in their practice, especially with patients. Even texts written as recent as a year ago can be discredited by another more recent study. Check the date on your texts and make sure the information hasn’t been refuted.
A = Accuracy – In order to ensure the accuracy of the information, many texts, especially academic texts, are peer-reviewed by other subject matter experts. See if the text you’re using has been reviewed and supported by other scholars in that field of study.
R = Relevancy – the content of the text overall can determine if it is credible or not. Does the text only partially mention the subject you’re looking for? Is the information too technical or too simplified? Does the text mention the subject you’re researching but in a different context? If so, the text may not be credible. A relevant text provides information that is useful to the subject you are learning or researching; if it doesn’t teach you anything useful or new, it’s likely not relevant.
All of these questions help readers identify the credibility of a text. Why is this so important? In order to share new information and discoveries, readers must be conscious of the information they take in, where it’s coming from, and who wrote it. Discerning the credibility of a text helps minimize the spread of false or outdated information. We all have had the familiar experience of seeing an article on social media about an event that struck us as shocking, only to find out the article was from 5 years ago or see that the writer wrote the article with emotional language that showed bias in their retelling of the event or subject. Things like timeliness, a reliable author, and fact-checking before publication, ensure that the information you’re taking in is credible and that you and those you share the text with are accurately informed about the subject at hand.
Now that we have covered how to identify a reliable text, let’s do a little practice.
1. True or False: When a text was written doesn’t affect its credibility.
The answer is false. Always note when a text was written to make sure your information isn’t out of date.
2. You’re writing a paper on modern-day cooking methods and are looking for sources to include in your paper. Using the RADAR framework, which text would be the most credible source to include based on the title and year of publication?
- Standard Cooking Utensils, 1986
- Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, 2011
- The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, 2003
- Cooking in Ancient Civilizations, 2006
The correct answer is B. This book is not only the most recently published but the title shows the subject of the book is most relevant to the theme of your paper.
Thanks for watching, and happy studying!