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Primary Source Analysis: Instructions
To complete the primary source analysis, you will choose a primary source reading that has been
assigned to you in one of the Canvas modules. Please follow this schedule:
For Primary Source Analysis #1: Choose any primary source readings that were assigned
and due between August 30 and September 27
For Primary Source Analysis #2: Choose any primary source readings that were assigned
between October 1 and October 22
For Primary Source Analysis #3: Choose any primary source readings that were assigned
between October 25 and December 6
Use the source analysis template to answer all of the questions.
o You will type your answer directly on to the template, and then upload that
template to Canvas. This should be on a word document.
Answer all of the questions on the source template. Your answers should provide good
detail and indicate that you have spent time reading and re-reading the source. To be
successful, you should read your source carefully, take notes and re-read your source.
Provide developed answers, which will usually mean a few sentences or a short
paragraph or two depending on the particular question you are answering.
- Do NOT use any outside materials (Wikipedia, etc.)
The template is 404 words. Your word total should be at least 500words in addition.
After answering your questions, the total word count will be at least 904 words.
Some key definitions to help you complete the assignment:
Evidence: Evidence always means that you are providing material directly from the
primary source to support the claims that you are making. It is best to quote the source
and explain why this evidence works with your claim.
o Evidence is NEVER material from the modern editor’s introduction. This is a
modern historian giving you background and does not qualify as evidence.
Author: The author is the historical author of the text (from the time period). Sometimes
you will know the name of the author, and sometimes you will not. This is ok. If the
author is not named clearly, then be sure to tell what type of person the author is in this
historical society (elite, man, woman, from the city, etc.).
o Author is NEVER the modern editor or translator. This person, or group of
people, should never be mentioned.
Fall 2018: HI 103
Bias: The bias is the worldview of the author. There is always a bias to every text
because each author has a particular view of the world (just as you and I do as well).
o Bias does not mean strictly an overt racist, misogynist, or anti-Semitic point of
view (although it may). Just because the author does not show any of these traits
does not mean that the author is not biased.
Theme: A theme is unifying idea or dominant idea, or motif, which the author seems to
be focusing on. For example, one theme of Romeo and Juliet may be love, another may
be family. There is not necessarily just one theme in a text.
Audience: The audience is to whom the author of the text hopes reads the text. The
audience is the reason that the author was motivated to write about his or her topics in the
o The audience is NEVER modern day historians or students. Remember, this text
takes you back in time to a specific historical period, so you should not be
thinking about a modern audience. Make sure you are considering who the
historical audience of this text is.
How does this assignment help you after this class?
The purpose of this assignment is to provide practice with developing your analytical reading
and writing skills. You will need to provide full explanations for why you think evidence from
these sources support the statements that you make while answering the template questions. This
type of critical thinking and analysis is not only a key building block for historians, but is also a
key component for success in other subjects and in the workplace. You will need to support your
decisions and ideas to your colleagues and supervisors using evidence (just likely from different
sources and topics). So, these assignments are helping you develop a life-long transferrable