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Mystery of the Letter Solved by Mike Caulfield’s Four Moves

Einstein’s letter

We found this topic to be quite interesting. We are all familiar with Einstein and his contribution to modern age, however, we have never heard about this particular topic before. Our task was to examine whether the letter is real or is it just a well-done forgery. This letter suggests that the University of Bern rejected Einstein’s application for the Doctorate thus rejecting his theory of relativity. If this were true it would mean that the University rejected one of the world’s greatest scientists. In order to get to the conclusion, we employed different methods. Firstly, we tried to find the initial source. However, since this photo has been circulating the Internet since 2016 it was almost impossible to find where it was first published. Since we were not able to find it, and since we were limited to online sources only, we tried a different approach. We searched through fact-checking sites and the one which provided the most useful information was Snopes. We tried searching key words: Einstein, letter, rejection and found on this site that the letter is fake. In order to be completely certain we also looked at some other sites on the internet (the internet sites: https://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/fact-checked-truth-behind-letter-rejecting-albert-einstein-shared-by-shekhar-kapur-2297368 , https://www.uniaktuell.unibe.ch/2016/die_einstein_faelschung/index_eng.html , and this one as well https://www.altnews.in/shashi-tharoor-tweets-fake-university-letter-rejecting-albert-einsteins-doctoral-application/ ). Our conclusion is that the letter indeed is fake considering the number of sources that confirm this theory. We found this task to be extremely useful due to the fact that we have never used fact checking sites and some of us didn’t even know that these types of sites exist. Mike Caulfield’s strategies turned out to be very practical and we’re sure that we will use them in our future.

Why do we trust some sources more than others?

When one indulges into the academic world, credible sources are a must. The term “credible source” is a term that is often heard in the academic world, but what makes a source truly credible? How can one be sure that the chosen source is valid and usable for an article or a paper?

When deciding what source to trust, one has to look at several factors, one of them being the author of the source in question. Who is the author? Is he commonly mentioned and/or referenced? Sometimes the mere name of a person can give you a hint if the source is authentic and useful. On the other hand, you might stumble onto a situation where you do not have the name of the author, yet you have the name of the publisher. Is the mentioned publisher renowned? Is this particular publishing house seen in a good light? Sometimes, it might come in handy to look through some other articles to get the general feel about the publisher. Finally, it occasionally happens that you simply might not have the time to go through pages and pages of works to determine the credibility of a source, so you ask friends or colleagues for a recommendation.

To summarize, the trustworthiness of a source depends on factors which sometimes need to be evaluated individually and subjectively. Once this skill of material selection becomes refined, it can be rather useful in a lot of everyday tasks.

How do we make sure we are not excluding valuable sources? What are the dangers of a diet of news from only one type of source?

As previously mentioned, it is of utmost importance to carefully select your sources, but then again how do you limit them? Do you need more sources? Do you need less sources? Aside from the precise selection process, the limitation process is also important.

Like it or not, you have to go through a lot of materials if you want to have an array of different sources. Once you have looked through the given materials, you must select the most significant information and later use it in your work. When picking out the sources, try to find those pieces that are not already repeated in some part of your work or research. If all your sources form a perfect picture of the desired outcome, you will know that have not included something useless or excluded something important. A word of advice, do not include absolutely everything you find and do not hold on to a single source of information. If you only have a single source, your work will seem dull and unexplored, people will not take it seriously. To add to that, you will miss out on beautiful pieces of information that might give that little extra something to your work.
In conclusion, the selection and limitation process may be lengthy and exhausting, but they will definitely be worth it once you see the final version of your work. It will give you a sense of satisfaction and personal accomplishment that will last!

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