Tutor profile: Stefani H.
Subject: Library and Information Science
How can I tell if a source I want to work with is scholarly and trustworthy?
Published scholarly articles have to go through a process called "peer review" where other scholars in the field review the work and feel that it is high enough quality to contribute to the body of knowledge. Many databases you work with will give you an option to limit searches to only peer reviewed articles when you search. In other cases, it is important to consider several other factors: The credentials of the author - what degrees (or other relevant qualification) do they have to write authoritatively on this subject; where is the item published - most scholarly work is published in journals put out by organizations in that field of study - that is a good indication that it is approved by those who do similar work; whether or not they cite their sources - every scholar will tell you where they are getting their information. You also want to make sure, on the trustworthy end, that the article is relatively recent. Recent may mean different things in different fields, but information often gets updated quickly in academic endeavors, so if you pick an older article, you may be working with outdated or incomplete information.
Subject: US History
What are primary and secondary sources? Can a source be both?
Primary sources are sources produced at the time - ideally by someone with direct knowledge of or connection to events. An example of this would be looking at official orders and the oral history of the Indigenous Nations involved when studying the Trail of Tears. A secondary source would be scholarly analysis later, someone writing about stories their parents told, commemoration materials, and other related objects. Newspaper articles could be both or slide from category to category depending on the author and your project - the same could be said of commemoration materials and other related sources.
What is cultural relativism?
Cultural Relativism is the act of refraining from immediately refraining from judging another culture's practice through the lens of one's won culture. It has two variants - Absolute Cultural Relativism where the outsider cannot judge the culture they are not part of at all; and Critical Cultural Relativism where the outsider still asks questions such as why a practice happening, what are the power dynamics involved, and more.
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