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How do you deal with conflicting sources?

Adam2
Posts: 1,024
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10/9/2013 9:11:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Say I wanted to do a paper on slavery in Missouri. Now there's two conflicting sources. One says that Missouri allowed a degree on education of the slaves. Another says the opposite, saying that slaveowners in Missouri brutally lashed at slaves who tried to educate themselves, fearing that it was a rebellion.
NotReallySmart
Posts: 212
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10/9/2013 9:58:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Either try to find more sources on this topic and infer from them which source is more plausable or use both source to create an unbiased paper conveying the conflicting views on the issue. Hope that helped!
There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.

There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.

There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love."

- Bernard of Clairvaux
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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10/10/2013 8:56:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Check to see what your source uses as a source. Unless its a primary document, it could easily be making stuff up or just relying . Then of course you can rely on the credibility of the author or publisher by googling or wikipediaing it.
Open borders debate:
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Quatermass
Posts: 166
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10/24/2013 6:16:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/9/2013 9:11:06 PM, Adam2 wrote:
Say I wanted to do a paper on slavery in Missouri. Now there's two conflicting sources. One says that Missouri allowed a degree on education of the slaves. Another says the opposite, saying that slaveowners in Missouri brutally lashed at slaves who tried to educate themselves, fearing that it was a rebellion.

You simply make a report. That is to say, you discuss both sources to create an unbiased informative account. Let me give you an example:

Source 1:
His teeth were uneven. He rarely looked people straight in the eye and his shirt was frayed at the cuffs. He rarely got through drying the dishes without breaking a few and his grocer said he was always late about paying the bill.

Source 2:
His teeth were white and his hair blonde and abundant, his eyes blue. He had a clean blue shirt. He often helped his wife dry the dishes and his pastor spoke very highly of him.

In this case we have two conflicting sources about the same person. Which is to be believed? Neither, we simply make a report which would go something like this:

His teeth were white, but uneven; his eyes blue and his hair blonde and abundant. He did not often look people straight in the eye. His shirt was slightly frayed at the cuffs, but it was clean. He frequently helped his wife dry the dishes, but broke a few of them. Opinion about him in the community was divided. His grocer said he was always late with paying the bill, but his pastor spoke highly of him.


As you can see, the report gives equal grounds to both sources above free of slants, inferences and judgements and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions, or simply observe that there requires further investigation.

I hope this helps?