Primary Sources are those statements (written and oral), documents, photographs and video, or similar material that are produced as original information. Students will be tasked with ascertaining the Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitation for each source they encounter. After carefully considering the document, students should prepare a one, but no more than two, paragraph analysis of the document. Students should consider the following questions when drafting their responses:
Origin is where the source comes from: author/artist, date it was written/finished, which country the author/artist was born in, where the source was actually produced, in which media (newspaper, book, letter, etc) it is presented.
Why was it created? (related to type of document/audience)
Who is the intended audience?
Does it describe or analyse an event?
Is it trying to persuade? How – use of language/pictures/symbols
Was the author a participant? (Could this impact on their views?)
Using this document, and your own knowledge of the wider context, show why this source is valuable (usually in relation to a particular question):
§ What does it tell us about the author?
o Their actions
o Their attitudes
o Was the author’s action generally seen to be positive or negative? Are they trying to justify a controversial decision?
o How authoritative is the author?
§ What does it tell us about the event/topic/attitudes/time period?
o Why it happened
o Why it was important
§ Is the source even-handed or present only one side?
Limitations is also linked to bias*, each source will be at least a little biased and thus they are limited by that. If the source has been translated from the original (eg. Hitler's diary entry was translated into English by a historian and you're using the historian's book as a source) then the language difference will be another source of inaccuracy and a limitation. Think: what does the text omit that is important to your research?
- The IB frowns upon the use of "bias" as a limitation. It demonstrates a lack of higher thinking skills, seeing as all sources are, in fact, "biased". If you're writing your IA as you read, take "bias" out of there!
Sample OPVL ParagraphEdit
The origin of this source is a journal that was written by _________ in ________ in _______. Its purpose was to _________________ so ___________________. A value of this is that it gives the perspective of __________________________. However, a limitation is that______________________, making ___________________________.
|Category||4 Exemplary||3 Adequate||2 Minimal||1 Attempted|
Who What When Where
|-||-||(either you got it right…….
|……………..or you didn’t)
|Demonstrates strong understanding of author and/or time period andpurpose for various types of primary sources||Demonstrates some understanding of author and/or time period andpurpose for various types of primary sources||Demonstrates some understanding of author and/or time period orpurpose for various types of primary sources||Demonstrates little or no understanding of author and/or time periodand/or purpose for various types of primary sources|
for a historian studying…
|Offers a valid response withtwo or moreaccurate and relevant values of the document||Offers a valid response withtwo or moreinsights that are somewhat accurate or relevant to the value of the document||Offers a response withone or moreinsights that may be inaccurate or irrelevant to the value of the document||Response is lacking or completely inaccurate and/or irrelevant to the value of the document|
for a historian studying…
|Offers a valid response withtwo or moreaccurate and relevant limitations of the document||Offers a valid response withtwo or moreinsights that are somewhat accurate or relevant to the limitations of the document||Offers a response withone or moreinsights that may be inaccurate or irrelevant to the limitations of the document||Response is lacking or completely inaccurate and/or irrelevant to the limitations of the document|
OPVL/Primary Source Rubric http://gleektopia.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/opvlprimary-source-rubric/
OPVL: Using a Primary Source to Prepare for Paper #1 http://www.mrker.net/OPVL%20Varela.pdf