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Evaluating Expertise: Handout

Expertise Matters No person can know everything so we must rely on experts to make informed judgement. We see a doctor when we’re sick, or a mechanic when our car breaks down. We trust experts because they offer their perspective based on evidence and experience.Experts correct mistakes and understand that knowledge changes with new evidence.Assessing an expert’s credibility. Investigate the expert: Explore their point of view and reputation. Research their qualifications, social media, institutional affiliations, and publications.Evaluate the context: Consider the context of your information need. Research climate change? Climate scientists are experts! Research viruses? Climate scientists shouldn’t be your go-to! Explore the conversation: Look to the expert consensus. Experts sometimes disagree, but if a large majority of experts agree on an issue, trust them!

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Citizen Literacy was created by Robert Detmering, Amber Willenborg, and Terri Holtze for University of Louisville Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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