Institute Students
Microtraining 3: How to Assess the Reliability of Sources


“Microtraining 3: How to Assess the Reliability of Sources,” Answering My Gospel Questions Teacher Material (2022)

“How to Assess the Reliability of Sources,” Answering My Gospel Questions Teacher Material

Microtraining 3

How to Assess the Reliability of Sources

Define

Display the following statement by President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency:

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Dallin H. Oaks Official Portrait 2018

We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 25)

Model

Provide students with the following handout, and discuss how these questions can help us identify reliable sources.

Questions for Evaluating Sources

Answering My Gospel Questions—Microtraining 3: How to Assess the Reliability of Sources

  1. What are the qualifications, intentions, and possible biases of the author?

    President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency taught that we should “be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. … Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 25).

  2. How closely connected is the author to the events being described?

    When a source addresses something from Church history, ask yourself how far removed the source is from the event it is discussing. Stories based on second- or thirdhand accounts are often less reliable.

  3. Does the author intentionally ignore available evidence in order to mislead?

    Some authors deliberately omit important facts and ignore critical evidence to support their particular point of view.

  4. Are the teachings and events addressed in this source presented in the proper context of their time, place, and circumstance?

    Some teachings and historical events can become confusing when they are taken out of the context of their time and place. Historical context also includes other events happening at the time (such as wars, economic crises, and social and political movements) and the culture and demographics of a given time and setting.

  5. Are the teachings and events supported by additional reliable sources?

    Support from other reliable sources helps establish the accuracy of doctrine and historical events.

Questions for Evaluating Sources

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Answering My Gospel Questions Teacher Manual

Apply

Invite students to go to the Links to Gospel Study Resources page. Read the first two paragraphs as a class. Then invite a student to explain the difference between official Church resources, Church-affiliated resources, and other sources. Invite students to explore some of the different resources in these sections and to share what they find.