Interpret: How do I analyze and evaluate this primary source?

Some questions students will learn to answer

  • Why was this source created? What was its purpose?
  • What information or evidence can I get from this source?
  • What does this document mean?
  • What information is missing from this source and how might I locate it?

Learning objectives this module will address

  • Identify the key concepts inherent in the source.
  • Understand how sources may be analyzed and used to answer research questions.
  • Determine if the context of the sources is important to its interpretation.
  • Understand how and why gaps and silences occur in the documentary record.

Sample exercises that may be used in this module

  • On this date in ‘68: Developing context through university records about student protests.
  • Tracing a space through time: Use fire insurance maps to understand local development and change.
  • Picturing the past: Closely examine historical photographs and analyze their content and context.
  • Where were you at the time in question? Interrogating documents and their place in the historical record.