The concept of “Questioning Authority” means how authority is looked upon, in contrast to how it should be. By saying this I mean, that Meszaros reading includes different ways of how authority is used. For example to undergraduate students, and how students interpret authority. She includes the differentiation between who authority is granted to and who deserves more authority. Authority by context is the power or right to give orders, and have underdogs (in this case students) respond to those orders with obedience. Often authority is used in the form, “what Patrick Wilson (1991) calls “administrative authority”- an authority ‘one has by virtue of occupying a position”…an authority that faculty possesses as the wielder of the grade” (Meszaros, p. 6). It is shown how authority can be simply used as power, the possessor of grades. Because of this students look to their professors/faculty members for help, instead of librarians who possess true knowledge of proper education and methods to searching.
The ways students see authority is either through dualism or multiplicity. Basically students do not know how to go to librarians to find credible sources. They go to their faculty members and professors, who apparently to them hold validated authority. According to Meszaros dualists, “believe in ‘authority”, but they believe as children believe. They do not base authority claims on intellectual expertise” (Meszaros, p. 7). Dualists in a sense do not pay attention to the intelligence behind the authoritative figure, they only depend on their high position. On the other hand multiplicities “for them, everyone has a right to an opinion and all opinions are equally valid” (Meszaros, p. 7). Multiplicities see authority as not having a high position, but by having high opinion. Both of these forms of interpreted authority do not help students. How could assuming a position is completely valid, or believing only your own opinion is right be helpful?
However from a valid academic standpoint, Meszaros explains that she wants students to look at authority as an intellectual asset. Instead of having students see faculty as a stronger authority, they should see librarians as just the same level of authority. For example in the context of finding valid information, Librarians could focus less on teaching to find sources, while focusing more on finding credible sources. Librarians and faculty members should work together to help students see authority as cognitive, a way to find knowledge.