Let’s analyze the reliability of two sources on pre-history.
Reliability means you trust it to be accurate. Sources are where we get our information. We are looking at secondary sources such as films, books, articles, and websites. Those secondary sources, in turn, look to other secondary sources (books, articles, and interviews of experts) and primary sources (first-hand knowledge). Primary sources can include bones and pottery, houses and other buildings, and documents (such as laws, letters, poems, diaries, and drawings) written or created at the time of the event (or soon after). Pre-history is the time before writing when we have to rely on bones and pottery, buildings, and drawings.
Pick TWO of the following sources and discuss which one you would trust more to be accurate, discussing author, sources, and bias as described below in the criteria. Note that you are not asked for a summary of the two sources or a review on whether you liked them (or not), or whether what they said agreed or disagreed with anything else. You are only allowed to use the two sources themselves, not what someone else said about the sources. I assume you can Google, now you are analyzing things yourself. Work alone, without receiving help from anyone.
2-3 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins all around. Name the two sources in the first paragraph. You can either discuss first one, then the other, then conclude; or go back and forth between the two sources and then conclude. Explain everything and provide specific examples to support your points. Always write as if your reader hasn’t seen the film, website, or article. Use proper American English spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and paragraphs. You do not need a title page or a Works Cited page because your only two sources are from below and you identify them in the first paragraph.
When we analyze reliability, we analyze how the film, book, article, or website, was prepared. We don’t want to have to duplicate the work the writer did by looking at the bones and letters or interviewing the experts ourselves.
We look at six things:
Who wrote it: is he/she/they an expert in the subject (pre-history, archaeology)?
Was there someone else either controlling what was said or certifying it was accurate? The editor of the journal and a broadcast network are two examples.
What secondary and primary sources did the writer rely on and is there reason to think those sources are not accurate? For example, are those people interviewed experts in the subject (pre-history, archaeology)?
Is the source biased? For example, does the source do anything to make you on one side or the other in a dispute about history (such as when something happened) or a dispute in history (such as which side to favor in a war)?
When was it written? If it is a primary source, you want something as close as possible to the event: for example, a letter written at the time of the event. If it is a secondary source, you want something as recent as possible, definitely after 2000 if possible. This is so new discoveries and approaches to evidence can be included.
Was it professionally done? Does it look like someone took time to do a good job or does it look like it was done in an hour?