Describe: How do I read, understand, and summarize primary source documents?
Some questions students will learn to answer
- What was the original context of this source?
- Why was this document made like this?
- How do I accurately identify and describe this document?
- How was this source originally created, published, or produced?
Learning objectives this module will address
- Develop the ability to recognize and describe various document genres and formats.
- Understand how genre and format change over time.
- Determine if the format of the source is important or contributes to its meaning.
- Understand the variety and challenges of working with original documents.
Sample exercises that may be used in this module
- Photo dating game. Learn to identify and date photographs by the processes used to create them.
- Is that an s or an f? Handwriting transcription challenge. Practice transcribing historical documents.
- Peer learning with primary sources. A paired group exercise for source analysis and description.
- Pay me my money: a probate game. Explore probate files, their organization, and uses.
- Looking at early printed books. Practice describing various formats of early modern printing.