History 101 – The West and the World

Historical Primary Source Analysis

For each primary source, the historian asks these, and other, questions:

1. What type of source is it? (newspaper article, map, letter, film, etc.)

2. When was it created?

3. Where was it created?

4. Who created it?

5. Why do you think the author created this source?

6. Who is the intended audience for this source?

7. How might the intended audience shape the perspective of this source?

8. Under what specific historical circumstances was this source created?

9. What does this source specifically tell us?

10. What things does the source NOT tell us?

11. What biases or other cultural factors might have shaped the message of this source?

12. How might this source confirm or contradict issues raised in other primary or secondary sources?

13. How do the ideas and values in the source differ from the ideas and values of our time?

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