As with so many other things, determining what constitutes expertise in a subject is dependent on context. For example, if you were writing a history paper, which of these people would you call an expert?
The answer is that any of them could be a valuable expert. It depends on their specific backgrounds and what information you need!
In general when you are determining whether or not someone is an expert, you are looking at their:
Let's look at each of our examples in terms of these two questions.
Some professors will be fine with you using amateurs *as long as they can demonstrate their expertise in other ways.* If your paper is about what life was like in a small Texas town in the early twentieth century, an local genealogist can be a great resource!
Red flags for YouTube videos include:
As with the amateur genealogist, you should check with your professor before you rely on a YouTube video. If your professor has said that you may only use scholarly resources for your paper, neither information from an amateur researcher nor the YouTube will be allowable as a source.
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