Anatomy of an Issue: Your Turn!

What is an authoritative source?

Expertise = formal education in the subject, professional credentials

Reputation = recognition as an expert by others in the field; research and writings are accepted by reputable publishers

Experience = has been involved in research and application projects related to the topic

Which of the following are the best choices for a parent to consult when their child has a high fever:

- the other parents in the neighbourhood

- an online health website such as Dr. Oz

- a online health site such as or ontario ehealth

- a doctor in a hospital or at a medical centre

The Canadian Encyclopedia is

- constantly updated

- written by experts

- focussed on Canadian situations

- dependent on its reputation for accuracy and relevance

A note about authority and accessibility

The most authoritative sources are written at a very high level by researchers with at least one university degree. These articles can be 20-30 pages long and written with very technical vocabulary. In grade 9, we do not expect you to use these sources. What we want is for you to find sources that base their articles on the most authoritative sources. Look for journalists or writers who specialize in the topic areas and who have interviewed experts or have used experts.

- written by subject specialists

- dependent on reputation for relevance and accuracy

- affiliated with Royal Canadian Geographic Society, a research institution

Government Sources

- depend on reputation for quality

- use taxpayer money to fund research that Canadians can trust

- use expert writers to make research reports accessible for most reading levels

Newspapers vs. News Magazines


- focus on immediate, current events

- reporters can be assigned any topic

- have very short timelines

- do not allow for in-depth research

- do not allow for extensive fact-checking


- focus on topic areas

- journalists often specialize in specific subject areas

- have much longer timelines

- develop topics with much more depth

- more time for fact checking

Caution: Not all magazines are good sources. Over time, you will learn which ones have excellent reputations.

Canada's national magazine of politics and culture

try searching using SITE-SPECIFIC SEARCH

Canada's national newsmagazine

Do NOT just pick the first search result