Primary Source Analysis Essay

Because the essay will have footnotes (or endnotes) it will not be necessary to include a separate bibliography of sources consulted.Your final essay will be shared with the other participants in this class and may be used as a component part of the final examination.

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our goal in this assignment is to write a short summary analysis of a primary source document relevant to the course that you have picked out yourself from the historical record, and then place it in its secondary literature and historical context.A document may be of various types: a written document, a painting, a monument, a map, a photograph, a statistical table, a film or video, etc. Category of document: What is the category in which this document falls (memoirs, poem, novel, speech, law, study, sermon, Church document, song, letter, etc.)? Reaffirm the core thesis of the document/author; present your personal evaluation of it.Anything from the past that helps us learn what happened, and why, is a document. What motive (purpose) might the author have had in writing this document? Does the geographical location influence the content? How would the type of writing affect the content and believability of the document? Audience: What is the intended audience of this document? Or addressing the document to a specific group (or speaking to a specific group)? Content of the document: What does the author argue (main theme; secondary themes: summarize them briefly but thoroughly. Comment on the influence/impact the document might have had and the reason(s) for it. If possible, situate this document in a wider context.Was the author a direct observer of the event/issue [if this is pertinent] or was the information obtained second-hand? What light does is shed on the society/events/issues described? Are there allusions made by the author that need to be explained? Believability of the document: Given the external analysis and the content of the document, how credible is the information? Had the author any personal involvement in the events/issues described [if pertinent]? Is it contemporary to the events/issues it describes? Do not only summarize but analyze the document as well: What does the author mean? such as artwork, maps, music, or economic data, that speaks to the processes and issues of the course.The publication date of the source must be within these dates.Once permission has been granted you may proceed with final work on the assignment. First, it should accurately describe the source contents to someone who cannot see or read the document in question.Review your notes from earlier in the term about things to think about when reading and describing primary sources. What didn't the author say that might have been included?For short model essays of this type, take a look at the student essays from the he primary source can be related to almost any topic that interests you and that is relevant to the course.You should look for areas that match your passions, career interests, hobbies, or "research questions of your life." You may find it helpful to look at the list of sub-genres of history that we used earlier in the term.


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