A Guide To Accuracy Of Information

1496 words - 6 pages

Using/analysing sources-Reliability needs to be worked out before usefulnessReliability- accuracy & truthfulnessAlthough reliability & usefulness are linked, they are NOT interchangeable. Just because a source is considered unreliable it does not mean it is useful. Ie. Propaganda.In fact its very unreliability may be what makes it so useful ie. Propaganda could hardly be regarded as reliable information, however it could be considered useful in showing mentality at that time.3rd person/past tense in writing-when trying to determine reliability ask yourself-- how accurate is the source, how truthful is the source.- Just because a source is primary DOES NOT mean it is ...view middle of the document...

Ie. Emotional, argumentive, optimisticBias- events in history have more than 1 view or perspective- bias source only gives 1 view where another is just as possible- author has a certain preferenceask-- is the writer an impartial observer or a deeply involved participant (look at source's origin & writer's origin)- sometimes in not being bias you have to detect what has not been said/left out.Bias can be deliberate or unintentional & thus bias effects reliabilityCompleteness- is source complete- is it damaged- any obvious emissionsTo check the reliability if evidence historians use the tests of- consistency- corroboration or supporting/adding- does the evidence contradict itself- does it agree with evidence from other sourcesUsefulness-When confronted with a question about usefulness ask yourself-- does it assist us in understanding a particular issue- usefulness of secondary source, it is a starting point- if encountered source while researching what could you do with it- can you use it to explain some aspect of the pastThe degree of usefulness is determined by its reliability. The more reliable the more useful.However, in the case of propaganda it is different- because while the information may not be entirely accurate, the source is still useful in showing propaganda.The degree of usefulness is also determined by its perspective. Ie. A soldier's diary may only give a limited perspective (one soldier in one trench, one battle) whereas a general's memoirs/biography might give a broader perspective and hence might be more useful. The broader the perspective, the greater the reliability. Historians tend to be more reliable as they are not emotionally involved & more objective. A secondary source could be more reliable than 1st hand or primary source because of hindsight.2 opposing views on the same event might be more useful than 2 presenting the same argument because there is more than 1 perspective.Photographs-- produced for a purpose- therefore may affect its reliability & usefulness.- Photos are record of 1 moment in time from one person's perspective- therefore affects usefulnessThings to consider are:- has it been posed forwhen dealing with WWI photos-keep in mind the fact that many photographs were taken by official photographers who were given specific tasks by the government & tended to be subjective.Ask yourself these questions-- what is being depicted- who took the photograph- under what circumstances was it taken, why was it takenCartoons-- aim of a cartoon is to express an attitude (opinion) about an event.- Does not present a reasoned argument, because it is too brief. So as a source it may not be more useful than a written source.- In order to understand them, the viewer usually has to have extra knowledgeAsk questions-- who...

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