How do YOU evaluate sources in History AS? Watch

hamzakhusro
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Whats a standard rule you guys follow whenever evaluating the sources: Letter, Speech, Memoir, Magazines, whatever else I've missed.
I need to know how to evaluate, and knowing the routine views you guys adopt in evaluating them would help.
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xx-creampuff-xx
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(Original post by hamzakhusro)
Whats a standard rule you guys follow whenever evaluating the sources: Letter, Speech, Memoir, Magazines, whatever else I've missed.
I need to know how to evaluate, and knowing the routine views you guys adopt in evaluating them would help.
Ok, so I’m in yr13 and am predicted an A in history and have my offers for doing the subject at uni so I guess I should be able to answer this question adequately. I am also doing AQA with Communist Russia as the depth study and the Tudors as the breadth study, so hopefully you’re also doing AQA but if not then this should still apply.

Start by outlining the main message of the source. What is the crux of what the author is trying to say?
I would then pick out around three quotes or pieces of information in the source to either agree with or dispute. Write what the quote is saying, the quote, the evidence and why its valid. Don’t make your argument for validity the evidence, state the evidence and then explain why that makes the point valid, you will not get marks otherwise. Also you arguement needs to be relatively balanced, you can’t have three points on one side, you get marked down otherwise.
I would then go into the nature origin and purpose of the source. Nature being what the source actually is e.g. memoir, origin being the person or organisation it was written by e.g. was it written by someone involved within the event or someone who would have a reason to lie, purpose being why it was written e.g. propaganda, entertainment, informing. For this it is relatively easy to formulate stock answers and you sort of need to intertwine it all together.
You the need to do a mini-conclusion, roughly 4 or 5 lines summarising your view of whether the source is valid in studying the view and essentially answering the question in a couple of sentences.
Hope this helps and good luck in your a levels.
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hamzakhusro
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(Original post by xx-creampuff-xx)
Ok, so I’m in yr13 and am predicted an A in history and have my offers for doing the subject at uni so I guess I should be able to answer this question adequately. I am also doing AQA with Communist Russia as the depth study and the Tudors as the breadth study, so hopefully you’re also doing AQA but if not then this should still apply.

Start by outlining the main message of the source. What is the crux of what the author is trying to say?
I would then pick out around three quotes or pieces of information in the source to either agree with or dispute. Write what the quote is saying, the quote, the evidence and why its valid. Don’t make your argument for validity the evidence, state the evidence and then explain why that makes the point valid, you will not get marks otherwise. Also you arguement needs to be relatively balanced, you can’t have three points on one side, you get marked down otherwise.
I would then go into the nature origin and purpose of the source. Nature being what the source actually is e.g. memoir, origin being the person or organisation it was written by e.g. was it written by someone involved within the event or someone who would have a reason to lie, purpose being why it was written e.g. propaganda, entertainment, informing. For this it is relatively easy to formulate stock answers and you sort of need to intertwine it all together.
You the need to do a mini-conclusion, roughly 4 or 5 lines summarising your view of whether the source is valid in studying the view and essentially answering the question in a couple of sentences.
Hope this helps and good luck in your a levels.
Thanks, this was helpful but I'm primarily looking for answers specifically in relation to the nature of the sources. For example, how do you evaluate a source if its a memoir, if its a letter, or if its a speech. I realise this is a very open-ended question whose answers depend on the individual contexts but I was hoping to learn some standard views I could adopt when trying to evaluate them. I saw a candidate response about a speech given in the US senate, which wrote ''Since the speech is in the Senate, it's likely aiming to persuade other senators to agree on a particular matter.'' I couldnt have even figured out this point without reading it so Im hoping I could learn some general views to adopt when encountering sources. If it's a memoir, people write that its probably reliable because memoirs have personal thoughts regarding a situation and arent prone to lying or deceit. Apart from this I cant figure out other ways to really evaluate a memoir, and Im hoping people can tell me that. This goes for other sources mentioned too. I'll understand if you say its way too open-ended for it to warrant generalised evaluations though.
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hamzakhusro
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Another example is this: "‘The source is a diary, so may be reliable as it was written soon after the events it describes, and the author would have wanted to remember the events accurately."
The statement that ''the author would have wanted to remember the events accurately'', I feel, is open to much subjective interpretation. How do I know the author wanted to remember the events accurately? How can people assume such interpretations without it just being blatantly wrong? What if the author wrote it for something else entirely? What if the notion is so ambiguous, that I wouldnt even want to mention it in my essay, ultimately ruining my point?
And why would it be more reliable as ''it was written soon after the events it describes''? Why wouldn't it be prone to the same biased opinions as it was before? etc. etc.
Another, last example: "‘The source is a play, so may be less reliable as the author may have wanted to entertain the audience, rather than communicate facts accurately." How do we know that?! What if we dont even know who the writer of the play is? How do we know if he's entertaining the audience by twisting facts? What if he's entertaining with accurate facts?
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xx-creampuff-xx
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(Original post by hamzakhusro)
Another example is this: "‘The source is a diary, so may be reliable as it was written soon after the events it describes, and the author would have wanted to remember the events accurately."
The statement that ''the author would have wanted to remember the events accurately'', I feel, is open to much subjective interpretation. How do I know the author wanted to remember the events accurately? How can people assume such interpretations without it just being blatantly wrong? What if the author wrote it for something else entirely? What if the notion is so ambiguous, that I wouldnt even want to mention it in my essay, ultimately ruining my point?
And why would it be more reliable as ''it was written soon after the events it describes''? Why wouldn't it be prone to the same biased opinions as it was before? etc. etc.
Another, last example: "‘The source is a play, so may be less reliable as the author may have wanted to entertain the audience, rather than communicate facts accurately." How do we know that?! What if we dont even know who the writer of the play is? How do we know if he's entertaining the audience by twisting facts? What if he's entertaining with accurate facts?
Memoirs typically take a rose-tinted view/look at the event from a nostalgic point of view. Imagine if you’re looking back on something from fifty years ago, you will have a generalised idea of whether it was good or bad and are more likely to leave out or forget details that do not fit that view. Though it is likely free from censorship (though say its about a dictatorship and the memoir is still written under the dictatorship this obviously will not be the case).
Diaries whilst free from censorship and therefore more accurate, often leave out details or negative aspects or what the author may not realise are significant details eventhough they witnessed it, say a piece of legislation is passed, they may not realise the significance, and vice versa, as sometimes they place too much significance on events. You have to remember that history has the view of hindsight, someone writing a diary does not.
Plays usually take creative license and even if they don’t you should always say with these things that it could be the case, because you don’t necessarily know, iI don’t know if you will get marked down for saying “would” but will most likely make the examiner less likely to take you seriously.
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hamzakhusro
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(Original post by xx-creampuff-xx)
Memoirs typically take a rose-tinted view/look at the event from a nostalgic point of view. Imagine if you’re looking back on something from fifty years ago, you will have a generalised idea of whether it was good or bad and are more likely to leave out or forget details that do not fit that view. Though it is likely free from censorship (though say its about a dictatorship and the memoir is still written under the dictatorship this obviously will not be the case).
Diaries whilst free from censorship and therefore more accurate, often leave out details or negative aspects or what the author may not realise are significant details eventhough they witnessed it, say a piece of legislation is passed, they may not realise the significance, and vice versa, as sometimes they place too much significance on events. You have to remember that history has the view of hindsight, someone writing a diary does not.
Plays usually take creative license and even if they don’t you should always say with these things that it could be the case, because you don’t necessarily know, iI don’t know if you will get marked down for saying “would” but will most likely make the examiner less likely to take you seriously.
I initially intend to take a speculative approach to evaluating sources, writing sentences like ''Since it's a play, the writer MAY have intended to entertain the audience by twisting facts to heighten drama." You think I can get marked down for that? I personally dont see the logic behind positively asserting that the writer did in fact twist facts to heighten drama. Though the mark scheme has a better way of evaluating, as it writes ''The writer most likely intended to entertain the audience by twisting facts to heighten drama.''
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IsMo987
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Hey what structure do you use for the 20 markers essay questions
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hamzakhusro
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(Original post by IsMo987)
Hey what structure do you use for the 20 markers essay questions
lol honestly i havent started on those but i imagine its a generic essay structure
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xx-creampuff-xx
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(Original post by hamzakhusro)
I initially intend to take a speculative approach to evaluating sources, writing sentences like ''Since it's a play, the writer MAY have intended to entertain the audience by twisting facts to heighten drama." You think I can get marked down for that? I personally dont see the logic behind positively asserting that the writer did in fact twist facts to heighten drama. Though the mark scheme has a better way of evaluating, as it writes ''The writer most likely intended to entertain the audience by twisting facts to heighten drama.''
No, sorry I wasn’t that clear, I meant you would get marked down for not doing that, like saying that “it will” and “it does”.
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