Q. How do I determine if an author of realistic fiction is credible?
Thank you for your question about determining an author's credibility in reference to works of realistic fiction.
A source being credible is a very important part of finding good and reliable research. When it comes to realistic fiction, different elements of the piece can be either "fiction" or "realistic." In some realistic fiction, the entire story may be fictional, yet the issues faced by the characters are "real" in terms of issues that are relevant in real life. For example, a fictional story about a man's struggle with addiction and how it impacted his life and relationships could be considered realistic fiction.
Generally, authors of realistic fiction would need "real" knowledge of the subject they are writing about, and often have to do research to gain this knowledge (i.e., for the above example, if the author knew nothing about addiction, he/she would have to do research about that topic in order to write the book accurately).
To help verify if the author of a specific book is credible and their writing on the topic is accurate, you may want to try the following strategies:
- Check the book in the following places: Author's note (if there is one), Foreword and/or Introduction (if there is one), and the About the Author (often found on the back cover).
- These sections usually provide information about who the author is, what sort of expertise he or she has on the topic, and what advanced degrees the author has (if any).
- If the book has any reviews, you can see if the reviews are from credible sources which you have actually heard of as opposed to random people.
- If you need more information, you can search in the database, Baker Library Search, for the author and see if there are any published reviews or biographical information available.
Please contact us again if you have any further questions on this topic.