Source evaluations

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Source evaluations

  1. 1. SOURCE EVALUATIONS
  2. 2. OKAY, I FOUND SOME SOURCES. NOW WHAT? You need to evaluate them to ensure high quality of scholarship, accuracy, usefulness for your research, and to detect any biases.
  3. 3. 2 MAIN TYPES OF SOURCES Both types need to be evaluated, but in different ways…
  4. 4. 5 CRITERIA TO CONSIDER 1. Author Authority 2. Audience and Purpose 3. Accuracy and Completeness 4. Footnotes and Documentation 5. Perspective and Bias
  5. 5. Author Authority • Who created the item? • What is his or her affiliation? • What is his or her relationship to the information contained in the source? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  6. 6. Audience & Purpose • Who is the intended audience? • Why was the item created? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  7. 7. Accuracy & Completeness • Is the evidence reliable and up to date? • Are the important points covered? • How does the source compare to other similar sources? • What may have been left out? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  8. 8. Footnotes and Documentation • Are the author's sources in secondary and reference literature clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  9. 9. Perspective and Bias • How do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented? SECONDARY SOURCE EVALUATION Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian . New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  10. 10. To understand the value and limitations of a source, try to answer the following questions: • Is this source a firsthand account, written by a witness or participant? • Was it written at the time of the event or later? • Is the account based on interviews or evidence from those directly involved? PRIMARY SOURCE EVALUATION Bedford/St. Martin's. "Guidelines for Evaluating Primary Documents." Bedford/St. Martin's. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/history/modules/guides/guide_documents.htm (accessed October 18, 2010).
  11. 11. To detect biases, try to answer these questions: • Did the author have a stake in how an event was remembered? • Did he or she want this issue to be perceived in a particular way? • Was the author writing for a specific audience? PRIMARY SOURCE EVALUATION Bedford/St. Martin's. "Guidelines for Evaluating Primary Documents." Bedford/St. Martin's. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/history/modules/guides/guide_documents.htm (accessed October 18, 2010).
  12. 12. If possible, compare several primary sources against each other to determine reliability and accuracy. If they conflict, consider why this might be. PRIMARY SOURCE EVALUATION Bedford/St. Martin's. "Guidelines for Evaluating Primary Documents." Bedford/St. Martin's. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/history/modules/guides/guide_documents.htm (accessed October 18, 2010).
  13. 13. TO RECAP, CONSIDER:

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