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ERIC Number: EJ783545
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan-11
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Unreliability of References
Barden, Dennis M.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n18 pC1 Jan 2008
When search consultants, like the author, are invited to propose their services in support of a college or university seeking new leadership, they are generally asked a fairly standard set of questions. But there is one question that they find among the most difficult to answer: How do they check a candidate's references to ensure that they know what they are getting? Search consultants have methodologies born of experience. They know what to ask and they know how to listen to the answer. So they ask. They probe. They challenge. They pry. Why, then, do references so frequently undo a lot of otherwise good work? Because the subject of the reference, its provider, and the person listening to it are human beings. As a result, there is simply no way to reduce to zero the risk of a false or misleading reference. Hard work and exceptional ability can get anyone close, but even the best and most experienced reference checkers are destined to be misled at some point.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A