Analyzing a School Yearbook

 
 
 
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Analyzing a School Yearbook

Jandy 1

Dear Editor,

I am trying to use the evidence analysis process map in evaluating my sources.  I have a question about a school yearbook.   SOURCES:  Because it is a book gathering a lot of information from different sources it would be an "Authored work." INFORMATION: The information is, for example, a bio next to his name and picture. Therefore the informant would be the student giving the information. Therefore it would be "Primary" source. EVIDENCE:  Since the student supplied the information it would be direct. Another question: Now if the student name was just listed as a member of a club: SOURCES: Name is from a list of members that was supplied by the club and not directly from the student. Therefore it would be a "Derivative." source INFORMATION: Would be "SECONDARY" because it came from the club, not the indiviual.   EVIDENCE: That he was a member of a specific club would be direct because it answers the question of what clubs he belonged to. Am I on the right track of this thinking process?  

Elizabeth Jandorek

 

EE
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Hi, Jandy, because your message was posted in a thread in the Citation Issues Forum, where it might not be noticed by those who are also struggling with analysis issues, I've moved your message to this forum.

In regard to your individual points:

SOURCES:  Because it is a book gathering a lot of information from different sources it would be an "Authored work." Yes. The whole is not an original record, nor is it a derivative copy of a record. It's an assemblage of materials.

INFORMATION: The information is, for example, a bio next to his name and picture. Therefore the informant would be the student giving the information. Therefore it would be "Primary" source. Yes,if you can confidently say that the student did give the information personally. Sometimes school yearbooks add a "quote" to a picture that supposedly reflects the individual's personal view of life—quotes are actually chosen by the yearbook staff, with various motivations involved in their choices.

EVIDENCE:  Since the student supplied the information it would be direct. No. Direct evidence is direct because it directly answers a research question. It doesn't matter who poses the question or provides the answer. (Yes, of course, those details matter when we are evaluating credibility; but they don't determine the nature of the evidence.) Before we can determine whether the information directly answers the question, we have to first define the question. I don't see one defined here. If, for example, we pose the question, "Where was John Popular born?" and the bio states, "John was born in a bamboo house in Tahiti ..." then that would directly answer the question we pose.

Then you approach the yearbook from a second direction: "Now if the student name was just listed as a member of a club ...."

SOURCES: Name is from a list of members that was supplied by the club and not directly from the student. Therefore it would be a "Derivative" source. No, the nature of the source (the physical book) remains the same, regardless of which piece of information we focus on.

INFORMATION: Would be "SECONDARY" because it came from the club, not the individual. Can we really decide here that the creator of that list only had secondhand knowledge that John Popular was a member of the group? One might also argue that an officer of the group, with firsthand knowledge of the membership and authorization to speak for the group, would have supplied the list, no?

EVIDENCE: That he was a member of a specific club would be direct because it answers the question of what clubs he belonged to. If our question is: Was he a member of the Zampona Panpipe Club? and the yearbook provides a list of Zampona Panpipe Club members, then the information is direct evidence. On the other hand, if he were to ask "What clubs did John belong to? that question is broader than it should be. His name on a list of members of one club only relates to that one club. It does not tell us "what clubs" (plural) he belonged to. To answer the broader question, we'd have to assemble the evidence from a variety of places, not just that one list.

Hope this helps.

 

 

The Editor