On Recognizing Authority

Critical thinking skills are more important now than they ever have been before. While it is truly wonderful that platforms such as blogs and social media sites are coming to be seen as credible sources, proving that authority is constructed and contextual, consumers of information need to be aware of the potential for bias and false reporting (intentional or unintentional). According to the Information Literacy frameworks put forth by the American Library Association, experts are able to maintain an “openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought” and the novice learner will be able to “ask relevant questions about origins [and] context” (“Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education”, 2015).

With this new openness to sources previously deemed unprofessional or unreliable comes a greater responsibility on the part of information seekers and consumers to do their own research and fact checking. While many may believe that these actions are only necessary when completing academic assignments, or that trusted authorities publishing information online or in print have already performed these actions for them, there are many real world examples that prove this is untrue.  Continue reading