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Music 203 & 307: World Music / Ethnomusicology: Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

When evaluating the quality of an information source, remember to examine:

Currency

Reliability

Authority

Purpose / Point of View

Here are some questions to ask yourself for each category:

Currency - How current is the information?  Is the age of the publication likely to affect the conclusions drawn by the author? 

Reliability - Does this work present you with high quality information?  Is your topic treated as the main subject, or is it peripheral?  Does the information support or disprove your thesis?  Is the resource useful to your research need?

Authority - Who is the author of the work, and what are his/her credentials?  Who published the work - a scholarly press, a commercial publisher, or is it self-published?  If it is an online resource, can you determine who the author is?

Purpose/Point of View - What is the purpose of the resource?  Is it to inform, entertain, etc?  Is the purpose clearly outlined in the foreword or introduction?  Is the work's audience an expert in the field or a layperson?

Article Characteristics

  • author is an anthropologist or ethnomusicologist or is associated with one of these fields and the article is published in an anthropology or ethnomusicology journal
  • article is based on fieldwork (abstract should indicate this) and what people do and say about culture, society and everyday life.
  • article may include anecdotes and will try to show the people's point of view.
  • article looks at how people are affected --going along, resisting, how ideas about topic are formed, or how it matters in the life of people.

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