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Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Framework Focus: Authority

Framework Focus: 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.

Authority is Constructed and Contextual


Key Sentence: Novice learners may need to rely on basic indicators of authority, such as type of publication or author credentials, where experts recognize schools of thought or discipline-specific paradigms.

Knowledge practices:

  1. define different types of authority, such as subject expertise, societal position, or special experience;
  2. use research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources;
  3. understand that disciplines have acknowledged authorities (i.e. scholars and publications considered "standard") and that differing perspective and contradictions may occur even within those established, standard authorities;
  4. recognize that authoritative content may include formal or informal sources of all media types;
  5. acknowledge they are developing their own authoritative voices and recognize the responsibility that entails;
  6. understand where authorities connect in the increasingly social nature of the information ecosystem.


We teach:

  • Differentiating between scholarly, trade, and popular sources and evaluating and using them appropriately [gen ed]
  • Defining peer-review [gen ed]
  • Adjusting topic after evaluating found resources as needed [gen ed]
  • Making use of review tools to evaluate information sources [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Identifying and using discipline-specific databases [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Understanding the information cycle and the nature of different information sources [gen ed, major]
  • Avoiding plagiarism [gen ed, major]
  • Using multiple source types for comprehensive evaluation [major, capstone/graduate]

“Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.” Association of College and Research Libraries, 11 Jan. 2016, Accessed 21 June 2017.

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