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SPCH U430 - Communicating Difference in Social Institutions: Authors Credentials

What are Credentials?

author credentials by LKaras UofSC Upstate

Where do you find the Author's Credentials?

If your source is a book, look for an author’s note, a foreword, or an “about the author” section towards the beginning or the end of the book. Book reviews can also be a good place to find information about the author. If your source is a website, look for an “About Me” section.  Books and articles might also identify the author’s university affiliation or academic credentials (advanced degrees, etc.). If so, you can use this information in a general Internet search (remember when you Google someone put their name in quotation marks "Laura Karas") to find a university-hosted biography page or a professional LinkedIn profile. If the author is a university professor, they may also have a published curriculum vitae (a curriculum vitae or CV is like a resume, it is a detailed account of your professional and educational history.) that you can find online.

More Than One Author

It's common for scholarly works to have more than one author, research is often a group process.

  • The first author listed is typically called the "lead author". This may be the only author for whom information is provided, make sure to check all authors out. (You may find that each author is not in the same field)
  • Sometimes authors cross over fields, so a Communication person and a Psychologist write an article together. You want a good percentage of your materials to come from your field of study.
  • Sometimes one author is a Ph.D. and the other authors are graduate students. 
  • Be cautious that you are not looking at Dissertations or Thesis these are student works and not scholarly or peer-reviewed.
  • Just because it is published in a Journal outside of your area of study, don't discount the article. (A communications expert and a teaching scholar may write and publish in a psychology journal but the topic may be communications-focused) 

Google Scholar Profile Search

Search in Google Scholar for your article then look to see if the author is linked to their profile page.  Most Authors have created a profile that offers affiliations and links to other of their articles.

Google Scholar is also a good place to see if and how often an author has been cited or referred to by others in the field. This is a way to see if other researchers feel the author has merit in the field

When in doubt you can also just try to Google the authors' name in quotation marks to see if you can find a profile or university page.


LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows you to search and find a profile that can include authors' contact information, education, licenses & certifications, skills & endorsements as well as publications if available.

LinkedIn Search


ResearchGate is a European commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. You can either go to the site directly or google the author's name and SITE: to get to the Authors profile page.

Research net autor


Scopus is the world's largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature. With over 22,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers. You can use the free author lookup to search for any author.

Scopus also offers statistics or metrics of how many documents the author has created, how many times it was cited as well as other information.  Not all of the information is in the free version but you can see the basic numbers and key ideas.

Scopus Metrics example

Finding an Author's Credentials

visual of finding an authors credentials