Analyzing Individual Source Credibility: Example Two: John Lennon

Assigning a general level of credibility to John is problematic for any number of reasons. Nonetheless, here is a list of general issues which should be accounted for when examining source material originating from John: Posts with your thoughts, questions and comments are welcome.

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Analyzing Individual Source Credibility: Example One: Yoko Ono

Here’s the rub; ideally, the historian who wants to provide the most accurate picture possible should analyze each source individually, going through the checklist (agenda, public vs. private, contemporaneous vs. retrospective, strong emotion, etc.) and evaluate a person’s statements via that method. It’s methodologically more sound to evaluate every source (and, in this case, when I say “source” I usually mean “interview”) separately, rather than to make all-encompassing generalizations (“Source A said this, which means it must be true, because Source A has an honest reputation.”) As Bloch said, (I’m paraphrasing here) there’s no individual who is 100% accurate 100% of the time. Also, agendas vary and memories alter over time.

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Book Excerpts: Applying Sources Analysis to Beatles Interviews

The Credibility of Interviews and The Historical Method:

Beatles historiography is saturated in both primary and secondary sources, mass media sources, and interviews. What Beatles historiography significantly lacks are the most valuable and credible of primary sources: private records that were never intended for public consumption. (Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, 31). Beatles history is awash in primary sources, but because of their very public nature, even the primary sources meet few of the established standards that determine the most credible material.

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