Historians use primary sources as evidence to support their historical arguments. They are aware that primary sources often reflect the interests and concerns of their creator or author so must be critically examined and evaluated. When using primary sources, see if you can determine:
You may not be able to answer all these questions, but hopefully you can find enough to help you decide how reliable the source is and how you will use it
Secondary sources allow us to learn how other historians have interpreted primary sources in order to understand an event. It is equally important to evaluate the reliability and validity of secondary sources as much as the primary. Points to consider:
As with primary sources, you may not be able to ascertain all of the above, but you should be able to determine enough about the source in order to determine its usefulness.
When evaluating primary sources such as works of art or artifacts, literature, film, photographs, cartoons, and sound recordings, consider the following:
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