source criticism


  • The empiricist movement in history brought along both “source criticism” as a research method and also in many countries large scale publishing efforts to make valid editions
    of “source materials” such as important letters and official documents (e.g.

  • The relation between these kinds of works and the concept “source criticism” is evident in Danish, where they may be termed (directly translated “source critical edition”).

  • Two other principles are: • Knowledge of source criticism cannot substitute for subject knowledge: “Because each source teaches you more and more about your subject, you will
    be able to judge with ever-increasing precision the usefulness and value of any prospective source.

  • It already showed some of the basic characteristics of his conception of Europe, and was of historiographical importance particularly because Ranke made an exemplary critical
    analysis of his sources in a separate volume, (On the Critical Methods of Recent Historians).

  • However, different views of history and different specific theories about the field being studied may have important consequences for how sources are selected, interpreted
    and used.

  • Characteristically, Bodin’s treatise intended to establish the ways by which reliable knowledge of the past could be established by checking sources against one another and
    by so assessing the reliability of the information conveyed by them, relating them to the interests involved.”

  • Historiography and historical method include the study of the reliability of the sources used, in terms of, for example, authorship, credibility of the author, and the authenticity
    or corruption of the text.

  • It is the logical structure and the well definedness that is in focus in evaluating information sources from the rationalist point of view.

  • “The empirical case study showed that most people find it difficult to assess questions of cognitive authority and media credibility in a general sense, for example, by comparing
    the overall credibility of newspapers and the Internet.

  • When two sources disagree (and there is no other means of evaluation), then historians take the source which seems to accord best with common sense.

  • Methods of this kind were the ideal when history established itself as both a scientific discipline and as a profession based on “scientific” principles in the last part of
    the 1880s (although radiocarbon dating is a more recent example of such methods).

  • In psychoanalysis the concept of defence mechanism is important and may be considered a contribution to the theory of source criticism because it explains psychological mechanisms,
    which distort the reliability of human information sources.

  • Such studies are important for source criticism in revealing the bias introduced by referring to classical studies.

  • As discussed in the next section, source criticism is intimately linked to scientific methods.

  • Biblical studies[edit] Main article: Source criticism (biblical studies) Source criticism, as the term is used in biblical criticism, refers to the attempt to establish the
    sources used by the author and/or redactor of the final text.

  • Also related is form criticism and tradition history which try to reconstruct the oral prehistory behind the identified written sources.

  • However, majority does not rule; even if most sources relate events in one way, that version will not prevail unless it passes the test of critical textual analysis.

  • The following questions are often good ones to ask about any source according to the American Library Association (1994) and Engeldinger (1988): 1.

  • Natural scientists, however, are also using human products (such as scientific papers) which are products of preunderstanding (and can lead to, for example, academic fraud).

  • Psychology[edit] See also: Cognitive bias The study of eyewitness testimony is an important field of study used, among other purposes, to evaluate testimony in courts.

  • Related to source criticism is redaction criticism which seeks to determine how and why the redactor (editor) put the sources together the way he did.

  • Broadly, “source criticism” is the interdisciplinary study of how information sources are evaluated for given tasks.

  • Journalists’ possibility for conducting serious source criticism is thus limited compared to, for example, historians’ possibilities.

  • When two sources disagree on a particular point, the historian will prefer the source with most “authority”—i.e.

  • As written above, modern source criticism in history is closely associated with the German historian Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886), who influenced historical methods on both
    sides of the Atlantic Ocean, although in rather different ways.

  • Feminist scholars may, for example, select sources made by women and may interpret sources from a feminist perspective.

  • Textual criticism[edit] Main article: Textual criticism Textual criticism (or broader: text philology) is a part of philology, which is not just devoted to the study of texts,
    but also to edit and produce “scientific editions”, “scholarly editions”, “standard editions”, “historical editions”, “reliable editions”, “reliable texts”, “text editions” or “critical editions”, which are editions in which careful scholarship
    has been employed to ensure that the information contained within is as close to the author’s/composer’s original intentions as possible (and which allows the user to compare and judge changes in editions published under influence by the author/composer).

  • The work provided by text philology is an important part of source criticism in the humanities.

  • This quote makes a distinction between source criticism on the one hand and historical philosophy on the other hand.

  • In this context source criticism is studied from a broader perspective than just, for example, history, classical philology,[1] or biblical studies (but there, too, it has
    more recently received new attention).

  • Journalism[edit] See also: Journalism fraud Journalists often work with strong time pressure and have access to only a limited number of information sources such as news bureaus,
    persons which may be interviewed, newspapers, journals and so on (see journalism sourcing).

  • • The closer a source is to the event which it purports to describe, the more one can trust it to give an accurate description of what really happened • A primary source is
    more reliable than a secondary source, which in turn is more reliable than a tertiary source and so on.

  • In relation to a given purpose, a given information source may be more or less valid, reliable or relevant.

  • Science studies[edit] See also: Hierarchy of evidence, Critical appraisal, Evidence-based practice, Misuse of statistics, Systematic review, Reproducibility, Replication crisis,
    and Publication bias Studies of quality evaluation processes such as peer review, book reviews and of the normative criteria used in evaluation of scientific and scholarly research.

  • The presence of fallacies of argument in sources is another kind of philosophical criterion for evaluating sources.

  • Anderson (1978) and Anderson & Pichert (1977) reported an elegant experiment demonstrating how change in perspective affected people’s ability to recall information that was
    unrecallable from another perspective.

  • Levels of generality Some principles of source criticism are universal, other principles are specific for certain kinds of information sources.

  • Bibliometrics is often used to find the most influential journal, authors, countries and institutions.

  • [2][3] Principles The following principles are from two Scandinavian textbooks on source criticism, written by the historians Olden-Jørgensen (1998) and Thurén (1997): • Human
    sources may be relics (e.g.

  • In library and information science the checklist approach has often been used.


Works Cited

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