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BIOL 1A: Energy & Matter

Markers of Authority and Objectivity for Evaluating Websites and Newspaper, Magazine, & Journal Articles

Authority: What is the author's expertise (education, professional experience), which particularly qualifies him or her to write on this topic? What, if any, institutional affiliation does the author have? Has the author published widely on this specific topic? Is this person considered an authority on the topic? The publication can be another marker of Authority: What kind of publication (blog, newspaper, magazine, scholarly journal, etc.) is the article published in? Is it a well-reputed publication?

Objectivity: Does the author, publication, or institution have a particular point of view in relation to this topic? Does the author make an effort to present a balanced point of view in order to account for bias? Are there data or statistics used in the article? Where did the data/stats come from? Is there a funding source named for the research?


Exploring Energy and Matter

Question authority by duncan c is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 and Question everything by TijsB is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Exercise 1: Hank's Domains of Authority

Exercise 1a: (10 min)


From what you know about Hank Green of CrashCourse (feel free to Google him and use his Wikipedia page), what kind of authority does he have to make each of the videos that corresponds to a different color sticky note?


1. Go to this google slide deck if you are in the 8:30 class. Go to this google slide deck if you are in the 10:20 class. You will be editing the slide for your group (Group 1, Group 2, etc.).


2. Decide together what kind of authority (through Education, Life Experience, Work Experience, or No Evidence of Authority) Hank Green may have in the domains of photosynthesis/biology, pollution/ecology, and psychology.

3. Copy and paste the color boxes in the appropriate domain. Anyone who disagrees with the consensus at their group may copy and paste the color box and leave their initials. If you or your group thinks Hank Green has more than one kind of authority on a topic, come copy and paste the color box in those domains.