Welcome - Introduction - Finding Experts - Validating Experts - Hints & Tips - Conclusion

Ask-an-Expert Projects
How Can You Tell That They Are Truly Experts?

  As you can tell, most experts selected by Scientific American tend to be professors from well known universities. As a result, you can feel relatively comfortable that this site is a valid source of information. However, as you may know, information provided over the Internet is not always accurate.
Verifying the Validity of an Expert

  Many people do not realize that there is no organization which monitors, reviews or blocks people from posting information on the Internet. Anyone can purport to be an expert and set up a web site advertising his/her services. For example, you wouldn't trust the advice of a car salesman promoting a certain car who also happens to be an employee of the same company. 

  Just like information from the TV, newspaper, etc., it is always important to check the sources.  Here are some tips to determine the validity of a site and the information it contains:

  • Identify the organization running the site. Sometimes, determining the site owner can be tricky. You can determine the type of organization by looking at the domain of the URL or email address (.com, .edu, etc.). Additionally, as in the case of Scientific American, if the organization is known to be reputable, it is likely that the information is also valid.

  • Request a résumé or references from your expert. Valid experts should not have a problem giving you this information.

  • Get second opinions when possible. You can also ask a trusted subject matter expert if they think the source is valid.

  • Universities and government agencies are usually reputable resources.

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