Source analysis-workshop
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Source analysis-workshop Source analysis-workshop Presentation Transcript

  • Source Analysis Paper Analyze a primary source as “a window onto the past.” What does it tell us about its world? About the people who created or utilized or responded to it? How does your knowledge of its historical context help you understand what it meant in its original setting?
  • Getting started (1) In Assignments, read the instructions and grading rubric for the Source Analysis Paper. In Lessons > Guides & Reviews, look at the sample papers from previous semesters. Grading rubric: Points Rubric 10 Mechanics: grammar, spelling, word count (at least 600 words) 20 Style: organization, clarity, persuasiveness 20 Context 20 Quotation, paraphrase, or description 70 Identify the source’s background and surroundings. Who created it? When? Why? How? What ideas or events or realities shaped its function or meaning in its day? Choose some interesting quotes, details, or features of the source. Discuss their meaning. What do they show us about how people thought or acted in that day? How does it connect to a particular aspect of context?
  • • Look at the samples in Lessons > Guides & Reviews. • Find a primary source from US History up through the republican era (up to about 1815). – What is a primary source? • Something from the time period – It can be textual, like a letter, book, speech, poem, song, legal record. – Or it can be physical, like a musket, teapot, axe. – Or it could be visual, like a painting, flag, cartoon, architectural plan. • Examples: • A letter from an indentured servant to his family in England • A Puritan sermon • The Quakers • Your textbook • A portrait of a colonial family, painted in 1720 • An internet page about the French & Indian War YES: a primary source Getting started (2) YES: a primary source NO: this is a topic, not a source NO: a secondary source (from a later time) YES: a primary source NO: a secondary source
  • • Where to find primary sources: – Lessons > Primary Source Anthology – Resources > Useful websites for HIST-8 • The best general sites for US history primary sources: National Humanities Center, Library of Congress, Digital History. – Lectures • Ask me about a primary source quote or image from lecture if you’d like to use it for your Source Analysis paper. I’ll tell you where to find information about it. • Choose a source that’s interesting to you. Getting started (3)
  • • Do some basic research about the context of your source. – Basic context: when, where, who, why, how? – Deeper layers of context: What cultural, political, economic, material etc. situations would have impacted the source’s meaning or function at that time? Maybe only one of these contexts is meaningful for your source. Maybe all of them. It will be different for each source. – Beware of online “information” • Only trust websites when you know that author is trustworthy and knowledgeable. • There is a truly astonishing amount of disinformation on the internet. Beware. Be judgmental, elitist, untrusting, snooty, mean people when you do internet research. There’s no point in learning information that’s wrong. No point at all. Waste of brain space. – Take notes as you research and start writing the paper. • Focus on analyzing the source itself, not on research – This paper should center on historical criticism, not research. Do not spend too much time researching. Delve right into the source itself. I want to hear your own views and analysis as you explore the source as a window onto the past. – Look at the details! Engaging with details of diction, style, symbolism, etc. usually produces a rich analysis and helps you get started quickly. (writer’s block cure) – If you quote something word for word, use quotation marks and cite the source of the quote. Otherwise , in this paper you do not need to cite the sources. Getting started (4)
  • Checklist • Identify your source and its basic context – What is it? Who created it? When? Where? How? Why? • Historical criticism – Use the source as a window onto the past. What does the source show us about the way people lived and thought in its day? – Use your knowledge of the source’s context help you understand what it originally meant for the people who created it and perceived it in that time period. What political, religious, cultural, economic, etc. ideas or realities would have influenced their understanding of the source? – This should be the focus of your paper. Do not spend too much time reporting information. Focus on analyzing the source itself.
  • • Quote, paraphrase, or describe – Refer to some key features in the source (such as specific sentences, details, word choice, symbolism, theme, etc.). Analyze how these features reflect the outlook of the people who created or reacted to the source in its original setting. How would people have reacted to or interpreted them at that time? – Discuss the author or artist’s ideological paradigms: what does he assume to be good or evil, possible or impossible, true or false? What does he/she seem to assume about his audience’s outlook, about their fears or desires or ideological assumptions? – Quote economically • Always match the quotation/paraphrase/description with analysis/discussion. Use your quote! Don’t just leave it hanging there. Checklist
  • Stuck? Get unstuck by following these simple steps:
  • Step 1 Stop researching. Just stop. Stop staring at the screen and clicking. Step 3 Read your source all the way through. Underline or jot down details or quotes you find interesting or which remind you of something about the source’s context. You can do this if your source is non-textual too. Step 2 Start typing. Don’t worry about grammar or style or sounding brilliant. Write 1 paragraph identifying the source (What is it?) and its basic context (Who made it? Why? When? How? Where?). Step 5 Take a break. Step 7 Proofread (please, oh please). Check the grading rubric. Submit. Step 6 Add detail and nuance to what you’ve already written. Explore deeper layers of context. Go back to the source and look closely at detail such as diction, style, symbolism, tone. Maybe add a small ending paragraph of conclusions and reflections. Step 4 Write a couple of sentences about each interesting item you found. Explain why they’re interesting. Suggest what they might have meant to the people who saw or created the source in its day. What do they tell us about the people’s experiences and outlooks?
  • Good luck! Please send me a note in Messages if you have any questions about a primary source or the paper. Send me a rough draft if you’d like. I’m very happy to give feedback.