Tutor profile: Cory A.
Subject: Library and Information Science
How do we know information is accurate?
This is a thorny question, and one I have really interesting conversations with students and colleagues alike. Librarians have some basic tools to help students figure out what information is trustworthy. Some of these tips include: looking at publication in which the information is being presented; researching the author and their credibility (based on factors like their area of expertise, their degree, etc.); checking out the sources of information being cited (with a bibliography, notes section, or direct links). These are helpful, but they also fail to address other crucial components of research and confirmation bias, a major and endemic problem everywhere in our popular culture, sources of news, and other media. When conducting research, ask yourself if you have any pre-conceived ideas about what you will find. How does this affect the information you seek? Will you be more inclined to find sources that confirm your opinions and beliefs, and disregard others? How about the information you find itself? When looking at research data, be sure to continuously ask questions about how the study was conducted, what was omitted, etc. What sources are they citing? Sources that may once have been credible later be debunked, questioned, or deemed ineffective. Information is a fickle thing, and there is so much humans still do not understand. Being thorough is important to determining the accuracy and reliability of a source.
What is the circle of fifths?
The circle of fifths is a musical concept that helps musicians figure out key signatures. In traditional Western music, music is defined by a twelve-toned system of pitches, or musical notes. Most musical compositions of Western tradition feature a seven-note scale, with the eighth note a higher version of the starting tone, known as an octave. Each scale corelates to a musical key, or a combination of notes used for composition. In Western music, a major scale is a specific combination of pitches. If we think of the song "Do Rei Mi" from "The Sound of Music," we have basic understanding of a major scale. Depending on key, certain pitches or notes in the scale will be sharp (higher) or flat (lower). By using the circle of fifths, we can easily figure how many sharps or flats a key has. For example, if we start with the key of C (which has no sharps or flats), and go a fifth up on the scale to G, the key of G will contain one sharp (which is F#). Similarly, if we start on C and go down a fifth to F, the key of F will contain one flat (which would be Bb). If we continue from there and go down from F another fifth to Bb, there would be two flats in the key of Bb (Bb and Eb).
What makes humans unique?
This question can be answered broadly by exploring the four major fields of anthropology. Humans are unique because they produce culture (Cultural Anthropology). Culture is defined as the ways in which humans shape their society. This includes laws, beliefs, religions, art, dress, technology, diet. While there is some evidence that other species have culture (other primates in particular), humans are dependent on it for survival. Humans are unique because of their biological characteristics (Biological Anthropology). Our physical bodies, including but not limited to our bipedal mobility (walking on two legs), our appendages (thumbs), and very large brains help to shape the way we interact with the world. A similar reason that humans are unique is our capacity for language (Linguistics). No other species communicates at the level of language, and the variety of languages in the world also shape and are informed by our cultures. Lastly, humans are unique because of our heritage (Archaeology). By studying our own behaviors of the past, we are able to understand ourselves with a self-awareness more acutely than any other species.
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