British Military - Assessing Reliability

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Once you’ve re-examined your source to make sure you have gathered every possible clue and considered what else you might have overlooked, you will want to consider how reliable the information is and look for possible other sources to confirm what you have.

Physical items

  • An original document or artifact is more reliable than an abstract, later recollection or transcription someone else did.
  • If a copy, check to see if the whole artifact was copied (is there another page, part, or?)

Non-physical items

  • Is the interview or story told by someone who was an eyewitness to the event(s) in the source? (If not, may want to see if an eyewitness recorded the story or is available to tell it)
  • Was the story recorded by the witness shortly after the event occurred (the longer the time, the less reliable). When far removed in time, it is advisable to seek other witnesses or corroborating source.

Sources to Verify