About Reliability and Source Criticism
Finding information about people who more or less have been written out of history is challenging, even more so when the researcher does not share any of the languages with the nation and its past. Therefore, I deem it necessary to be transparent about my research process and reasoning behind the facts I have included in the texts about these women.
Firstly, the main languages which are available in this field and context is Kyrgyz and Russian. I started learning Russian two weeks before my arrival, hence it is nowhere near sufficient for research purposes. For this reason, I have had to rely on friends and Google Translate, as English sources have been scarce if existent. Any of you who previously have been in contact with Google Translate, are probably familiar with the fact that it simply is not accurate. Translating a paragraph will give you a general idea of the content but you will never be able to fully understand the nuances or biases imbedded in a text.
My strategy has thus consisted of a few crucial choices which I am sharing with you now in order for you to make an informed choice about the information included on this website. In this project, my material has been collected through three main channels; interviews, available museums in Osh, and online research. As mentioned in the “Purpose of the Project”, I have avoided to impose values onto the women and their stories, even though the mere selection can be interpreted as value-laden.
In the same way, I have chosen not to include information which is seemingly more of an interpretation made to create or reinforce certain values, such as “she was a good wife and mother” et cetera. Not only is this kind of statements irrelevant as the focus of this project is mainly on women’s public contributions, but they are also normative and biased. So, generally, I have left out much information about these women’s private life, with some exceptions such as place of birth and the existence of spouses or children.
My next strategical choice has been to compare sources. As my linguistic skills are lacking, my source criticism is thus severely flawed so I have aimed to mend this through using as many sources as possible to confirm such things as dates, titles, awards, et cetera. I will also provide the url-links for you to look at on your own if interested. This is of course no guarantee and there is still a risk that some facts are unreliable, but this risk will always remain because of the flawed nature of human beings. Mistakes can always be made along the way, I have just made a fair effort to reduce mine.
My last strategical choice to ensure reliability has been to review some of the content with colleagues and friends, including the general information on Kyrgyzstan.
As English is not my first language, I have also had the texts read and re-read by different people who have been kind enough to support this project. Most of the people who in different ways have helped me assure the quality of this project are mentioned on the home page of it; however, some names are left out because of some ethical and security reasons.
If you have any specific questions regarding the research process of this project, feel free to send them via the contact sheet which you find in the menu on the left!