How is the article "The Queen Who Would Be King" in the Smithsonian Magazine: History & Archaeology reliable and useful as a source of information?...

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is relatively easy to say why this article is a reliable source of information.  The degree to which it is useful, however, depends greatly on what you need it for.

A source can only be useful in the context of an assignment.  A source that is useful for one assignment will be absolutely useless for another.  Since we do not know what your assignment is, it is hard to know why this source is useful.  Presumably, though, your assignment is about Hatshepsut.  If so, this is a useful source because it has a great deal of information about her.  It gives you many facts about Hatshepsut that are not found in a typical textbook.  For example, it tells us that the desecration of her monuments did not begin right after her death but, rather, only started about 20 years later.  It also tells us that she did not pretend to be a man and that inscriptions made it clear that she was female.  Because the article has many facts about Hatshepsut, as well as a good discussion of how her image has changed over the years, it is a useful source.

The issue of reliability is easier to address.  The first way to judge reliability is by the source in which an article is published.  In this case, Smithsonian is not a peer-reviewed academic journal, but it is produced by a very reputable museum organization and is therefore reliable.  Secondly, we can look at the fact that the author quotes many authorities, clearly identifies them, and tells what credentials they have that make them believable.  Thus, she is making clear that her sources are reputable.

In these ways, this source is relatively reliable and is a good source for an assignment about Hatshepsut.