NOTE! This section doesn’t apply to primary sources, only to secondary.

Vetting Author Authority Rank

Vetting of authors of secondary sources is a bit more complicated. Secondary source authors are analyzing, interpreting, and deconstructing events to find patterns and then tell you their conclusions as if it were fact. Sometimes secondary sources just extrapolate their favorite theories and pet peeves and present them as divine canonical works from above. You must be on the lookout for minor bullshit, partial bullshit, and full on steaming bullshit.

In the case of books, there is always the bias to make the book sellable. As a general rule in the analyst community, if you can identify the bias, you can contain it. It is only when you don’t see the bias, that their hidden agenda may skew your analysis.

For evaluation of secondary source authors, I just look for specific things and mentally add and subtract bonuses to their scorecard in my head. However, I will try to quantify it for those of you who want to try to understand how I evaluate my secondary source authors.

Vetting using the Taylor scorecard method.

+6 if author is known to publish in peer-reviewed scholarly journals

+5 if written with citations that go to primary sources or +2 for secondary citations

+3 article is hosted on a government or university’s website (.gov or .edu)

+2 article hosted by a reputable news media (ie. NY Times, Washington Post)

+2 if author publishes other articles in non-peer-reviewed journals

+2 if author publishes contact mailing address

+1 if author publishes contact email

+1 appears written for a scholarly audience

+2 originates from government report ( modern or vintage, doesn’t matter)

-1 refers to any