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Evaluating Different Sources of Information Essay

1. Introduction
With vast access to various types of information nowadays; it’s important to be able to distinguish truth and accuracy. The aim of this report is to evaluate the reliability of three different sources; a policy document, academic paper and newspaper articles in regards to space, place and culture. The objectives are to compare the listed sources through highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each source and to indicate when and how it might be appropriate to use them for a potential essay ‘The interaction between global and local processes in the creation of ‘places’. 2. What are Space, Place and Culture?

Space and place can be seen as an absolute structure or as a social experience with meaning, these play key roles in our culture; this system of shared meaning based on everyday life is central to a sense of identity. 3. The Policy Document

This policy document ‘Communities in control: Real people, real power’ is a government report based on policies or proposals of an issue. It discusses how local communities can be empowered through having more influence over local council policies and more access to information. 4.1. Advantages

The policy document was written by academics and practitioners so the information is reliable; published by the Department for Communities and Local Government so we can assume that the information is accurate. Also, the document is clear, explicit and easy to understand which is important as it’s aimed at the general public. It was printed in July 2008 so it’s recent information. However, this indicates it’s from the previous government and changes have been made to policies due to recent budget cuts so may no longer be up to date but can still be significant when analysing the past. 4.2. Disadvantages

However, the policy document may be politically biased because it’s a government document and also as stated on paragraph 58 page 12, ‘In
developing the White Paper, we spoke to a wide range of stakeholders who fed their comments and suggestions into policy development.’ Therefore, it raises the question, who are these stakeholders and is their viewpoint biased? 4.3. How to use the source?

In relation to the essay title, this policy document is useful when analysing a politically biased viewpoint and discussing the influence of political control on different groups of people. The Academic Paper

Academic writing is writing done by scholars, devoted to topics and questions that are of interest to the academic community. This particular academic paper ‘A Global Sense of Place’ by Doreen Massey Taken from Space, Place and Gender (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994) discusses how globalisation is such the norm that those who have control can flourish with it but many people are imprisoned by it due to capitalism or feel at lost for a sense of belonging or identity. 4.4. Advantages

Academic papers are usually written by scholars who specialize in a particular field so information which usually consists of primary data can be considered to be accurate. In addition, its peer reviewed and scrutinized by other academics so is reliable. Massey makes reference to Marxist to support her argument and provides facts about different places in order to conceptualise the journal article. The intended audience is academics/students and is fairly easy to understand. 4.5. Disadvantages

Journal articles take time to collect research; this was written in 1994 which can be disadvantageous in using for the essay as concepts may no longer be up to date. However, it can be significant when comparing historical information. It appears written as a personal journal entry for example when Massey states ‘a walk down Kilburn road, my local shopping centre.’ so it can seem biased. However, Massey explores different viewpoints in order to compare the ideas. Concepts can seem implicit as the reader needs to almost visualize their own perspective. 4.6. How to use the source?

As journal articles are constructed on primary data and have been scrutinized by other academics it is the most reliable source. In relation to the essay title, it would be useful to use when building arguments of different perspectives and to compare with other theories. 4. Newspaper articles

Guardian article, ‘Triumph of democracy’ by James Harkin, (2006) informs the public about how the residents of Dingle vote to keep the name of their town, emphasising being in favour of equality and universalism rather than ethnic identities. The other Guardian article, ‘Is Paddington the Big Society in action?’ by Saba Salman, (2011) informs of how Neil Johnston (PDT chief executive) and residents are helping fund and lead the regeneration of the area despite cut backs in government funds. With emphasis on how a strong community input is the back bone to surviving the cuts.

5.7. Advantages
The Guardian newspaper is a reliable and popular newspaper; ‘triumph of democracy’ was written in 2006 and ‘Paddington the big society’ was written in 2011, so its current and as it’s aimed at the general public, the information is explicit and easy to understand. 5.8. Disadvantages

Information is based on mainly secondary data so it’s not completely reliable, especially as journalists aren’t not required to cite sources so no evidence provided. These particular articles seem biased as it’s the journalist’s viewpoint and Neil Johnston’s viewpoint, and could also be based on newspaper owner’s political goal. 5.9. How to use the source?

Newspaper articles are useful when signifying current affairs or comparing historical data. 5. Conclusion
Overall, through evaluating the sources it can be suggested that the policy document is politically biased and currently invalid with the change in government. The newspaper articles can be scrutinised as data is second hand and it’s in a biased format. The academic paper has proved most reliable as it’s been peer reviewed and based on primary data, despite being written in 1994 the concepts are still relevant today. However, all sources provide different concepts of ‘place’ and would be efficient to use to write the essay.

6. Bibliography

Communities and Local Government Publications, (July 2008) ‘Communities in control: Real people, real power,’ Department for Communities and Local Government Harkin James, (2006) ‘Triumph of democracy,’ The Guardian Massey Doreen, (1994) ‘A Global sense of Place,’ Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, from Space, Place and Gender Salman Saba, (2011) ‘Is Paddington the ‘big society in action?’ The Guardian

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