Essential Skills



Analyzing Historical Evidence: Primary Sources


Describe historically relevant information and/or arguments within a source. 

Explain how a source provides information about the broader historical setting within which it was created. 

Explain how a source’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience might afiect a source’s meaning. 

Explain the relative historical significance of a source’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience. 

Evaluate a source’s credibility and/or limitations.

Where you prove that you can do this on the exam The DBQ, Short Answer, and Multiple Choice

How we do this...

Extended Analysis of Documents

Note- MUST go beyond what is stated in the source line of the document and its content.    


Author’s Point of View (POV)


Intended Audience

Intended Purpose

Historical Context


Frame of Reference/Bias


Person and/or Group Targeted

Goal, Reason or Motive

Time and Place (Immediate)

Things to Consider

What about their identity causes them to say what they say?



-Social Class







-Political Affiliation


-Law-abiding citizen








-In his/her opinion

-In his/her eyes




How does this identity/factor specifically influence/impact the content of the document?

For whom was the document created

and how might this

affect the reliability

of the source?


-Fellow x…


-Political Party

-Independent or

Undecided people

-Reading public




-Religious group




-Recipient of communication

-News media




Why was the document created?


Why was it produced at the time it was produced?






























When and where was the document created?


How might this affect the meaning?


How does it relate to the “big picture?”


-During or after a time of _______

-Historical Events

-Broader regional, national, or global processes and trends

-At the height of ______________

-Certain decade


-Ties to _______


-Supreme Court case


Basic Sample

“The author’s POV was _____” and “is shown by _____”

“The author’s intended audience was_____” and “is shown by _____”

“The author’s purpose in writing was to _____” and “is shown by _____.”

“The historical context of this document is _____.”

Better Sample

As a politician seeking reelection, he wanted to discuss policies believed to be popular with voters. 

His candid words were not surprising since he was directly addressing supporters at a fundraising event for his political party. 

He sought to convince undecided voters by identifying common ground with them right before the election.

As someone running for political office in the U.S. during the heightening of the Cold War in the 1950s, he wanted to come across as a strong anticommunist. 

Best Sample