Assessing Credibility of Sources

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There are a number of factors to consider when assessing the credibility of sources. These include:

  • Whether the source is a primary source or secondary source, e.g. if a person is giving a record of an event such as a car crash, if they were actually there when the crash happened it would be a primary source but if they were recalling events a friend told them then it would be a secondary source. Whether the source is a primary or secondary source can affect the credibility of the document massively because if it is a secondary source it may not have all the facts and may exaggerate certain parts. Secondary sources can act like a rumour may do at school.
  • The reputation of the witness or author. If someone is a known exaggerator or liar then the credibility of the source will be lower and vice versa.
  • The vested interest of the author or witness. If the author or witness has something to lose or gain from the incident then they may see it in a different light or may lie about it…


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