The process of identifying the origin, purpose and context of particular sources needs to be supported with evidence
Some questions for students to consider when identifying the origin of a source are:
Some questions for students to consider when identifying the purpose of a source are:
Some aspects to consider when identifying the context of a source are:
Analyse: to 'break down' or 'pull apart' into component parts - to tease out the different ideas within a source and the ways they are connected.
Interpret: to make meaning out of- to explain - to understand in a particular way
Synthesise: to put things together to make a connected whole
Academic argument: is purposeful, is objective, supported by argument and/or evidence, defends or develops a position.
To develop and sustain an academic argument requires access to source material from which to take quotations or statistical information. This information is then interpreted and used to support a position held. The source material is inserted in the explanation to make a logical and convincing case.
interpretation: the way something is understood or explained. For instance, a statistician interprets statistical data to draw conclusions from it.
point-of-view: very similar to ' interpretation' - an attitude or standpoint, - how one sees or thinks of something. For instance, a cartoonist may hold the point of view that a public figure is incompetent and so makes an unflattering or ridiculous caricature of them.
The value of a source for making informed judgements relies on:
reliability: the degree to which a source accurate ly expresses the views it claims to represent. Questions to ask include:
who is the author of the source? ls it authoritative? is it consistent or contradictory?
usefulness: the degree of relevance or the degree to which the source serves the intended purpose. Questions to ask include :
who is intended audience? is it informative?
does it arrive at any conclusions?
does it contribute anything to the course content?
contestable nature : the degree to which the source stands up to scrutiny. Questions to ask include :
Does it critically question a held position? Is there obvious bias or gaps?
Is there a diversity of views on the subject? Is it overly sympathetic or hostile?
When reviewing the reliability of survey data, the following should be considered :