Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • How to Know If a Source is Reliable, a la Shmoop. [Football hits man in head]

  • Meet Maria. She's always cutting corners.

  • When she encounters a young man selling supposedly brand-name purses out of the trunk of his [Maria meetings car salesman]

  • car, she thinks she's found the best deal ever

  • until, that is, Maria discovers the Burberry handbag she covets is actually made by Barberry... [Maria holding burberry hand bag]

  • in China

  • out of plastic. While anyone with half a brain should know [Butterfly flys out of Maria's head]

  • that a designer clutch for sale at a street vendor isn't the real thing

  • even the savviest writers sometimes have difficulty discerning whether a source is [Girl thinking about writing]

  • reliable

  • or super shady. So, how do we tell good sources from bad?

  • Well, first off, did we pull our source off the Internet? While websites can provide us [Farenheit 451 typed into shmoople search engine]

  • with all sorts of marvelous information

  • and cat pictures

  • the Internet is also rife with gossip and outright lies, which is why we have to be

  • very, very careful when using online sources. If we're pulling content from the official [Cat laughing from a laptop]

  • webpages of the White House, Walmart, or a reputable newspaper like The New York Times

  • then the information we're using is probably safe, given that it's been uploaded with

  • the full weight of the U.S. government… [Congress building lands inside US mail box]

  • the Walton family

  • and the liberal media machine behind it. Wikipedia, however, does not make the cut

  • as a reliable source. Anyone

  • absolutely anyone

  • can log on to Wikipedia and edit articles. Random blog posts with anonymous authors also [Laptop opens and cat laughs]

  • don't constitute reliable sources. This brings us to our next criteria for determining

  • reliability. Whether the source we're interested in is a book, a piece in an academic journal, [Book lands on tablet and smashes screen]

  • or an article taken off the Internet, we have to ask: Who's the author?

  • The author of a reliable source will be respected in his or her field of study

  • and will cite his or her sources so we can fact-check to our heart's content.

  • For example, if we're writing an essay about President William Howard Taft and his enormous [Pencil writing an essay]

  • bathtub

  • we should look for source materials written by noted historians

  • Taft's family, friends, and other contemporaries

  • or maybe even by President Taft himself. We also need to know when a source was written [Pencil hits Taft and page turns]

  • in order to decide whether it's reliable or not.

  • Say we're writing a paper about yellow fever. While medical texts hailing from the era of

  • the building of the Panama Canal might be interesting… [Fly buzzing past people]

  • …a source penned more than one hundred years ago doesn't tell us much about where yellow

  • fever is prevalent today, or why… [Man sprays pest spray at fly]

  • and what people can do to protect themselves from bleeding all over the furniture.

  • In other words, a reliable source is appropriate to the topic and the time we're writing

  • about. Here's another criteria for determining

  • the reliability of a source: What's the author's purpose? [Man puts fork into socket and electrocutes himself]

  • While some authors set out to provide an objective look at a topic

  • others will have an agenda, because they have very strong feelings about the subject

  • or perhaps because their research was sponsored by an organization with a particular outlook. [Man on a ship smiles and sparkles from teeth]

  • It's our job when searching for sources to identify where the author is coming from,

  • why, and if their viewpoint is reliable enough to include in our own work.

  • For example, say we're writing a paper on pesticide use in the United States. [Pest crawling on a leaf]

  • We find an article written by a biologist who claims that a particular pesticide used

  • on corn doesn't negatively affect human health

  • even though a dozen other biologists in a dozen other academic papers have come to [People giving thumbs down]

  • the opposite conclusion.

  • Given how very different Biologist A's stance is on our pesticide from the rest of the scientific

  • community, it's of the utmost importance that we determine whether he's a reliable

  • source or not.

  • In this case, a quick search determines that Biologist A's study was sponsored by the

  • company that manufactures the pesticide. [Pest spray and pest appear on study findings]

  • Sorry, Biologist A, but we vote you off the island.

  • We've discussed how reliable sources will have authors who know what they're talking

  • about

  • and who are willing to put their names on their work.

  • Reliable sources will be relevant to our topic… [Darts land into topic targets]

  • and will have citations that allow us to check the source's veracity.

  • While we can look online for reliable sources, we know to be cautious about what we find

  • on the Internet. One last question: Why does it matter whether

  • we use reliable sources or not?

  • Whether we're producing a paper for school or for an employer… [Woman at work typing on laptop]

  • we're putting our names to something. We're saying that what we've written can

  • be relied on.

  • When our own reputations are on the line with our peers, our teachers, or our employers,

  • we must take the extra time… [Clock rings]

  • and really, it isn't much

  • to make sure that the information we use to back our opinions

  • is good. Otherwise, we'll look like idiots. [Woman wearing a dunce hat]

How to Know If a Source is Reliable, a la Shmoop. [Football hits man in head]

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US reliable maria pesticide biologist pest writing

How to Know If a Source Is Reliable by Shmoop

  • 11 0
    Coco Nut posted on 2018/07/01
Video vocabulary