How can I find out whether an author I have come across is an expert in the subject area?
To find out whether an author is the expert in the subject s/he has written about, follow the steps outlined below:
IOE Library Search
Begin by searching UCL Explore using the 'Author' search. If s/he is listed, check to see what they have written.
To evaluate the information presented in the search results (assuming the catalogue has retrieved some results), try and answer the following questions which will allow you to gauge the author's impact in terms of their contribution to the scholarship in this area of research:
- Is the author affliated with an organisation? Is it a reputable organisation, i.e. a higher education institution?
- Is the content of his/her output current? This will show you whether their expertise is current or whether they have made a historical contribution to the area of research.
- Who is the intended audience for his/her writings? Is it for scholars, students, practitioners?
- Is s/he prolific? This is an indication of expertise.
- Has s/he consistently written about the same subject or does the author write about a variety of different subject? If the latter, are they in the same area?
- Has the s/he co-authored a book? If so, who is the other author? What is their reputation? Have they written about the same subject too?
- Has s/he been cited by other authors? See below for instructions on how to find citations.
- Is the author biased? Are there other views that are just as relevant? You will only be able to gauge this after you have read around the subject and writings by other authors.
Google Scholar Search
Search for the author or select a book title from the catalogue search results and find it on Google Scholar.
You will see that the book in the example given above has been cited 23 times. Click on the link and you will be able to see who has cited this article and where it has been cited.
If you click on the author's name, you will find his/her Google author profile which will give you a list of this author's work and links to citations as well as show you visually whether the author is being cited consistently:
Use the same prompts as above to evaluate the author's output and click on this LibAnswer to gauge whether the journal which contains the citations is a high impact journal and contributes to scholarship in the subject area.
To search for citations, you can also use citation databases such as, for instance, the Web of Science. The IOE LibGuide Bibliometrics and Citation Searching has instructions - see: http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/content.php?pid=278510&sid=2294101.