step 2 bias and reliability table

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Bias and Reliability Table with Questions

Locating Bias and Assessing Reliability

Who & What?

How did the identity of the person who created this document (including their profession, race, gender, class, age, religion, and anything else you know about them) shape the creation of this document? In what specific ways do you think their identity influenced elements of the document such as word choice, what they chose to emphasize, and/or the way they depict people/places/things? Did the creator have firsthand knowledge of the event? Or, did they report what others saw and heard?

Write at least 5 college-level sentences in this box.

Where?

How did location influence this document? For example, was it written by someone living in a specific region, which might have influenced the way the author thought about the topic? Was it published in a particular place, which might have influenced the way the author framed certain issues? What other ways might location have influenced the document?

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

When?

How did time influence this document? Was it created during or immediately after an event, or not until a long time later? (And what might that mean about the bias/reliability of the document?) Was this document created in a hurry or through a long, purposeful process? (And what might that mean about the bias/reliability of the document?)

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

How?

What does the format the creator chose reveal regarding bias/reliability issues? Is this a direct recording of an event (like a transcript) or is it someone’s interpretation (like a diary or piece of art or poetry)? Based on the format, what issues is the creator trying to emphasize, and how does that influence the way we read the document?

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

Why?

How did the creator’s purpose or audience influence the document? For example, was it a personal diary intended to be kept private? Was the document prepared for the public? Did the creator wish to inform or persuade others? (Look closely the words in the source. The word choices may tell you whether the recorder was trying to be objective or persuasive.) Did the recorder have reasons to be honest or dishonest? Is there anything that completely contradicts what you’ve read in the textbook or seen in the films for class?

Write at least 5 college-level sentences in this box.

Other Bias/Reliability Issues

What else do you notice about this source (or know about its context, based on the textbook) that influences how you/historians should read it?

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

Using the Source While Keeping Bias and Reliability in Mind

Topic 1

What specific research topic might an historian use this source for? (Tip: Pick a very narrow topic so that you don’t have trouble thinking of 3 total.)

What to Be Careful About if Using for This Topic

How might an historian have to be careful using this source for the topic above? (For example, an historian using the eulogy above to write a biography of Susan B. Anthony would have to be careful because eulogy-givers tend to only speak about the good parts of a person’s life. Shaw could have romanticized the story because her audience was a bunch of mourners who loved Anthony.)

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

Topic 2

What specific research topic might an historian use this source for? (Tip: Pick a very narrow topic so that you don’t have trouble thinking of 3 total.)

What to Be Careful About if Using for This Topic

How might an historian have to be careful using this source for the topic above?

Write at least 3 college-level sentences in this box.

Blank Bias and Reliability Table

Locating Bias and Assessing Reliability

Who & What?

Where?

When?

How?

Why?

Other Bias/Reliability Issues

Using the Source While Keeping Bias and Reliability in Mind

Topic 1

What to Be Careful About if Using for This Topic

Topic 2

What to Be Careful About if Using for This Topic