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Digital Literacy (62-130, 26-105)


  • What is authority?
    • When evaluating a web page, it is important to find out whether the person or entity responsible for creating or publishing page content is qualified to produce content about a research topic in a professional and competent manner.
      • Relevant education
      • Related work experience
      • Similarly published articles on topic
    • The content creator may be specific person or group of people (e.g., journalists, scholars, scientists, practicing professionals). Or the content creator could be a corporate entity that is responsible for screening content, producing content, and publishing content (e.g., media/news corporation, company, nonprofit organization, government agency).
  • How to check a website's authority:

[ Author name links to other articles written for this website ]

  • If credentials are not available, Google (phrase search) the author's name

[ Google the author's name using phrase search to find credentials ]

  • Verify the author has a degree, expertise, and/or work experience in the topic's field

[ Check to see if author has credible background for the topic ]

  • If you can't locate author information, is the site edited or reviewed by staff with degrees in the discipline?  Check the editors' degree, expertise, and/or work experience in the About Us, Board, or Staff areas to see if they match the topic area. 

Return to top and click B. Credibility


  • What is credibility?
    • Credibility refers to the accuracy and trustworthiness of the content of a source.
    • For a source to be considered reliable for an academic essay, presentation, or writing assignment, it must be evidence based and well documented.
  • To check a website's credibility:
    • The most reliable documentation of evidence based research is a complete, verifiable list of all sources used and consulted which can be referred to as Works Cited, References, Notes, or a Bibliography.
    • Consulting and identifying research studies and certified experts trained to conduct and evaluate research is also acceptable proof of evidence based claims made in credible sources. 

​Levels of credibility:

  • Most credible: Web pages containing a Works Cited list. Web pages containing a Works Cited list often use other hallmarks of scholarly publishing like research data and statistics arranged in tables, charts, and grants.
         NOTE: Links to related or similar web pages are not considered a Works Cited list.
  • Credible: Web pages that refer to research studies and consult experts who have done the research and who are trained to analyze and synthesize research results in a particular area of study but do not contain a Works Cited list.
    [ sources are hyperlinked within website content ]
  • Least credible: Web pages that: do not consult experts in the field of study related to the web page content, do not take into account valid research relevant to the web page content, and do not contain a Works Cited list.
    [ Least credible - does not provide link to poll or citation for poll ]

Calculate Your Webpage ESA

From the list of your current event's search results: 

1) Select a webpage 

2) Calculate the Earned Scholarly Average (ESA) of your webpage using the chart at this link.

(Note: author has 2 parts - answer both parts) 

No source is perfect, but even imperfect resources can be useful. Here's a rule-of-thumb ESA scale you can use:

  • 6 points or more: Good source, as long as it's relevant to your topic
  • 2-5 points: Worth a look and further consideration
  • 1 point or lower: Possible background material, but keep looking

[ Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported ] ESA was developed by librarians at Ferris State University's FLITE library as part of the Project Information Literacy Online Tutorial

3) Post your completed chart, URL of website, and two sentences.

Sample credibility and authority sentences:

The author, Peter Scott, is credible because he is a professor of higher education at the University College London Institute of Education.  This site does not have strong credibility because legislation is mentioned, but not cited. 


  1. Select the magnifying class ("search windows") in the bottom left corner 
  2. Type Snipping Tool
  3. Click Snipping Tool
  4. Click New
  5. Click and drag a red box around the chart
  6. Click File
  7. Click Save As...
  8. Save graphic to Desktop as File name: webpage ESA.PNG
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