Information Validity and Reliability in Research
Information used in research studies encompasses knowledge, messages, facts, numerical indicators, and data obtained from various sources, both objective and subjective. In order to assure truthful and valid research findings, information should be characterized by its completeness, representativeness, credibility, and validity. The credibility of challenging information about the role of public women (“hookers”) in the American Civil War communicated by Paul Ellis in his Dr. Comp 10: On Documentation and Citing Sources video should be supported by reliable sources.
Methods specific to desktop research were implemented to obtain reliable data concerning the origin of the word “hooker” as an equivalent of “prostitute,” involving the search, collection, and analysis of existing secondary information. The analysis of sources included methodological procedures used for the extraction of information needed to solve research problems. University online libraries, official databases, and the toolkit of Google Scholar Search were used to ascertain the truth through reliable sources. The search was focused on sites with .edu or .gov in their Internet address.
However, the Internet-grounded search for the keywords “hooker,” “Joe Hooker,” and “the Civil War hooker” returned results that did not verify interconnections between General Joseph Hooker and prostitutes during the Civil War era. No historical evidence supporting this hypothesis was obtained. On the contrary, this information is identified as an anecdote. Either in an academic or professional setting, prior to citing any sources, it is essential to validate their reliability. The validator of reliability and accuracy of data provided by articles, videos, and various publications is their external and internal analyses conducted simultaneously. The external analysis should be focused on the circumstances of the document creation, as well as its historical, scholarly, and social context. The internal analysis should examine the content of sources, their evidence, factual grounds, and those processes and phenomena that are illuminated.