Social Studies: Reliability and Utility

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Many students struggle often with Social Studies subject because it requires them to think and answer critically.

One of the most important skills in Social Studies is discerning what is Reliability and Utility. How do you tackle such questions and get the highest level of marks in your tests and examinations?

The first myth students have is that so long as they always talk about the source they will get the highest level of marks. The second myth is that background information cannot be used as a source for cross-referencing to check reliability or utility.

The truth is that students SHOULD ALWAYS check reliability through cross-referencing. This is a simple process but yields a handsome reward to those who do so. The source to be cross referenced MUST BE the LEAST biased, the exception being when all sources are biased.

What are the kinds of Reliability and Utility questions out there?

Simple R&U questions involve only ONE SOURCE

1. How useful is.....?

2. Does this source prove that......?

3. How far can you trust......?

Simple R&U questions involving TWO SOURCES

1. Sources A and B give two different accounts of the conflict. Does that mean that one of them must be wrong?

2. Which source do you believe?

Some tips on answering questions

1. Basis of cross referencing must be clearly written.

2. Cross referencing must check the same focus, which MUST match.

3. Cite the cross referencing source and the evidence must be clear.

Join our SS classes to find out more about the rules governing cross referencing and how to answer complex reliability and utility questions. Our SS tutor Mr H Tan has more than 15 years in teaching experience and has helped hundreds of students to distinctions during his many years of solid teaching. Give us a call at 6264 2236 now.

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