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Corroborating Information: Evaluating Claims and Credibility

Overview:

You will learn:

  • how to integrate multiple sources of information in order to craft an argument

Sources Vary – Medium

By now you have seen a variety of sources in different formats: textbooks, encyclopedias, maps, charts, graphs, interactive digital sources, audio or visual interviews, newspaper accounts, etc.

These sources have different ways of displaying information about the same topic. Each type of source may emphasize different evidence as it communicates the central idea to the reader.

Sources Vary – Message

Different sources present different evidence about the same topic. In some instances, sources may present varying arguments about a topic, but still include the same evidence. The author or creator’s message changes based on the source.

When Sources Disagree

You will frequently encounter sources that disagree about a topic or event.

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Remember that scientists, historians, and other scholars are people, too! They have the same biases and blind spots that you, your classmates, or your teacher might have.

Disagreement among sources could result from:

  • Contradictions of fact (whether information is accurate)
  • Contradictions of premises or claims

Corroborating and Challenging Evidence

Listen to the sound clip below: 

Corroboration = comparing the claims and evidence of multiple authors

Corroborating and Integrating

By corroborating sources, you can compile information from multiple sources to integrate in your own historical argument.

Consider the question:

How did the Civil Rights Movement spread throughout other groups of people?

To answer this question, you will consider several sources. These sources may or may not corroborate the same claim and evidence. At the end of your research, you will need to determine which sources to include and which to omit from your writing.

Source 1 – Textbook

You are researching how the Civil Rights Movement spread to include other groups in the United States.

Read the last paragraph of Civil Rights Movement taken from a textbook written by Eric Foner and John A. Garraty (located on History.com).

The paragraph argues that the Civil Rights Movement inspired other social groups. The next step is to look at other sources to see:

  1. if you agree with the information
  2. how you can integrate this source with others to write a coherent response

Source 2 – NOW Statement of Purpose

Read the eleventh paragraph of the 1966 Statem​ent of Purpose from the National Organization of Women.

As you read, consider the connection between the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement.

Source 3 – SDS Port Huron Statement

A movement among college students began in the 1960’s at the University of Michigan. Called the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the student movement became a major force in the protests against the Vietnam War.

Read the third and fourth paragraphs of the section I​ntroduction: An Agenda For a Generation from University of Michigan. What connections does the SDS make between their organization and the Civil Rights Movement?

Corroborating Sources

After looking at the NOW Statement of Purpose and the Students for a Democratic Society Port Huron Statement, you can corroborate the information found in ​USHistory.org online textbook and the ​History.com article.

The Statement of Purpose and the ​Port Huron Statement provide examples of how the Civil Rights Movement spread, and support the statement that the Civil Rights Movement, “…also served as a model for other group advancement and group pride efforts.”

Combining Sources

The sources in this lesson can be viewed as having a “conversation” among themselves in response to the History.com article’s claim: the Civil Rights Movement,
“…also served as a model for other group advancement and group pride efforts.”

Each of these sources can act as a piece of evidence in your own written response. A sample response that integrates the sources could be:

Historians Garraty and Foner argue that the Civil Rights Movement, “…also served as a model for other group advancement and group pride efforts.” Examples include the National Organization of Women that spearheaded the Women’s Movement and the Students for a Democratic Society that protested the Vietnam War.

Conclusion

You learned:

  • how to integrate multiple sources of information in order to craft an argument
  • how to corroborate and challenge a source against other authoritative sources
  • how to evaluate multiple sources and integrate information to discuss the spread of the Civil Rights Movement

Movements can take people physically from place to place. They can also serve as inspiration for the travel of ideas. The Civil Rights Movement did both.