GUIDE TO USING PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS
|1.WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENT IS
IT? Is it an essay, diary, report, state
paper, poem , a sermon, piece
of fiction, transcript of testimony or meeting
etc.? The first thing to do is CLASSIFY the source. How
does the type of document affect how you read it?
2. WHAT IS THE DATE OF THE DOCUMENT?
Explain how it is significant to interpretation of the
document (e.g. written immediately after the fact, 50 years later.)
3.WHO IS THE AUTHOR AND WHAT WAS THE
WRITING? Identify the writer as to country, life dates,
historical role, etc. Can you discover,
from the introduction of the document or from
online information or from the content of the document, what
motive the writer had? For what
audience was the document written? (Explain how the intended
audience might affect how the author wrote the document.
4. MAIN POINTS (What the document said): Write a SENTENCE OR
TWO about the major points that you
consider most important and give some indication WHY they are
important. Read the entire document before you decide what the
important points are. What are some of the key
words and phrases of the document and how are they keys to analyzing