Evaluating Sources – History 101
In the light of recent events in Woolwich, as in the Boston bombings there have been many claims and counter claims of falsification, false flag ops, media manipulation and conspiracies.
So how do we process all of this information and come to our own conclusions of what we believe to be fact, and what we believe is fiction?
I feel we need to take a step back and go back to basics. Forget all this high tech mumbo jumbo that most of us are not qualified to comment on and don’t fully understand, as people who do understand it are just as easily able to manipulate us as anyone else.
Let’s look at History 101, evaluating sources as in the UK, contrary to popular opinion, our education system does actually teach us to think.
Some sources are more useful than others.
When reading/viewing a story, do we always believe what we read or see?
Obviously we shouldn’t. We make judgements on the reliability of the sources, in the same manner that we make judgements when told things by individuals in every day conversation.
Some people will have a hidden agenda,
Some people will be giving evidence for a specific reason,
Some people will leave out crucial pieces of information,
Some people will be repeating the words of others.
When studying history, newspaper articles and news broadcasts need to be examined using the same stringent methods as any other source. The official version of events is never beyond reproach, or above judgement.
We judge using simple analysis;
Purpose – why? what is the intent behind the piece of information.
Limitations – what? does it not tell you? What is missing? What would you like to know that is not apparent?
Author – who? made it, and what is their expertise, or involvement in event? what are the implications of this.
Content – what? Does it tell you
Type – Primary or secondary?
Is it informational, fictional, is it to attract people to a page or site, get more you tube hits? Is it to report an officially recognised and sanctioned version of events? Is it to propogate a particular ideaology? What are the authors motives? What was the intent behind it?
Could it have bias? Could it have information which is missed out, deliberately or otherwise? If it is a secondary source does it take in to account all of the primary information?
Who wrote it? Who produced it? what is their history of accurate reporting? Do they support a particular view or ideology? Are they free to speak?
What does it tell us? what new information do we learn from it?
Eye witness account, at the time or after?
– Intended audience, why are they telling who they are telling? who is it aimed at and how would that effect it?
– Tone, threatening, persuasive, conciliatory
– Action Does the source motivate action? why? Who benefits? what action?
I hope the above will be helpful when determining what to believe. It is a reminder for us all, firstly myself. Don’t believe a clip saying something is doctored if you dont know anything about film making, the same way you wouldn’t accept the official version without research.
May Allah guide us all to truth.
Posted on 24/05/2013, in media, politics and tagged conspiracy theories, evaluating sources, haq, history gcse, Lee rigby, truth, woolwich attack, woolwich soldier. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.