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Indigenous Studies

Evaluating Sources of Information

Thinking critically about what sources of information you use is essential in all areas of study.  Asking questions like Who created this Information, What are their credentials? Why was this Information Created? When was it created and is it still current? is important whenever you approach a new source. 

In indigenous studies, evaluation of sources takes on even greater significance because of the history of colonization and marginalization that has occurred with many native cultures.  When you think about who created the information and why, consider the relationship to the people or culture being studied.  What worldview does the author represent?   Also think about how the information was gathered and how it is disseminated. 

Indigenous researcher Linda Tuhiwai Smith writes:

Indigenous methodologies tend to approach cultural protocols, values and behaviours as an integral part of methodology.  They are 'factors' to be built in to research explicity, to research design, to be discussed as part of the final results of a study and to be disseminated back to the people in culturally appropriate ways and in a language that can be understood. *

Consideration of these factors should be incorporated into your critical appraisal of any source being used for research on indigenous peoples.

* Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples 2nd ed. (London: Zed Books, 2012)