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IB History OPVL Chart

Handy Chart for determining the Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitations for a variety of Historical sources.

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IB History OPVL Chart

  1. 1. BIFS IB History OPVL Chart Document Type Origin Purpose Value Limitations  Is it a primary source?  Private reflection?  Content  Personal involvement could lead to Diary Entry  Who wrote it?  Private reflection with the  Eyewitness account mistruths, omissions, justifications  Was this person a key view to being published  Person was part of the for actions and undue emphasis individual? later in a memoir? decision-making placed on certain events.  When in the course of  Attempts to justify actions? process  Might be written with a view to events was it written?  Could be candid and later publication and therefore honest wanting to appear in a positive light.  Needs to be cross-referenced with other primary sources.  Is it a primary source?  Private and candid  Content  Personal involvement could lead to Letter  Who wrote it? comments between  Eyewitness account mistruths, omissions, justifications  Was this person a key individuals?  Person was part of the for actions and undue emphasis individual?  Not necessarily intended decision-making placed on certain events.  When in the course of for public consumption? process  Might be written with a view to events was it written?  Attempt to justify actions?  Could be candid and later publication and therefore  Attempt to persuade the honest wanting to appear in a positive recipient to follow a course light. or action?  Needs to be cross-referenced with other primary sources.  Is it a primary source?  Public statement of  Content  Personal involvement could lead to Speech  Who delivered the thoughts or of official  Statement of official mistruths, omissions, justifications speech? policies? policy for actions and undue emphasis  Was this person a key  Propaganda?  Statement of the placed on certain events. individual?  Facts omitted or individual’s personal  Propaganda?  When in the course of exaggerated to suit the ideas and thoughts  Facts omitted or exaggerated to suit events did it occur? audience?  Reaction to various the audience.  Where was the speech events  Needs to be cross-referenced with made?  Statement of intention other primary sources.  Who was the audience?OPVL Chart              1  
  2. 2. Document Type Origin Purpose Value Limitations  Whose  Attempt to justify actions?  Content  Personal involvement could lead to Memoir memoir/memories?  Attempt to remember  Eyewitness account mistruths, omissions, justifications Recollections  Was this person a key details of events for later  Person was part of the for actions and undue emphasis individual? generations? decision-making placed on certain events.  How long after the  For the general public? process  Written for publication and period was the memoir  Could be candid and therefore wanting to appear in a published or the honest positive light. memories recounted?  Could be a source of  Needs to be cross-referenced with valuable information other primary sources. that otherwise would be lost  Is it a primary source?  Public statement of official  Content  Propaganda? Official  Which institution policies?  Statement of official  Exaggerations? Government published this material?  Propaganda? policy  Only shows one aspect of Document  Was this document a  Facts omitted or  Reaction to various government policy? significant document at exaggerated to suit the events  Does not show the reasons behind the time? audience?  Statement of intention the policy.  Does not show how or whether the policy was actually implemented.  Is it a primary source?  Public statement of official  Content  Propaganda? Statistics  Which institution figures?  Statement of official  Exaggeration? published this material?  Propaganda? figures  Only shows one set of figures  Was this document a  Facts omitted or  A historian’s summary  Does not show the reasons behind significant document at exaggerated to suit the of facts and figures the statistics. the time? audience?  Does not show how these statistics  Or is it/has it been  Statistics used to illustrate were collected. compiled by a historian a historian’s point? as part of his/her analysis?OPVL Chart              2  
  3. 3. Document Type Origin Purpose Value Limitations  Nationality of the  Scholarship  Objectivity  Only an extract History Text historian?  Objectivity  Thoroughly researched  Topic may have been only briefly  Where was it published?  For students of history and  Access to a wide range researched because it is only a small  When was it published? for the general public of sources and part of general history text. interested in history evidence  May not have had access to the full  To revise previous  Hindsight range of sources especially if interpretations of the  New evidence published in the West before the period or events?  Analysis of cause and opening of Soviet archives in 1991  To present an alternative effect or before the publication of the view? Chinese “literature of the wounded”, for example.  Nationality of the  Scholarship?  Objectivity  Only an extract Biography biographer?  Objectivity?  Thoroughly researched  Topic may have been only briefly  The relationship between  For students of history and  Access to a wide range researched because it is only a small biographer and the for the general public of sources and part of the person’s life. person? interested in history and in evidence  Justification  Where was it published? the lives of important  Hindsight  May not have had access to the full  When was it published? people?  New evidence range of sources especially if  To revise previous  Analysis of events and published in the West before the interpretations of this of a person’s opening of Soviet archives in 1991 person’s life? contributions or before the publication of the  To present an alternative Chinese “literature of the view? wounded”, for example.  Is it a primary source?  Private family photo?  Snapshot of a moment  Propaganda Photograph  Who took the photo?  Posed? in time  Posed  Was it originally for  Propaganda?  Shows how people private use or the public? lived/dressed/acted  Could be a source of valuable information that otherwise would be lostOPVL Chart              3  
  4. 4. Document Type Origin Purpose Value Limitations  Was it drawn at the time?  An interpretation of events  A reflection of public  Biased Cartoon  Nationality of the artist? at the time opinion at the time in  Opinionated  In which newspaper or  Political comment for one of the countries  Does not show the evidence to journal did it originally readers about particular involved support opinion appear? events or policies.  Insightful analysis of  May reflect uninformed public  Propaganda? events and policies opinion  If published in another country, is it a positive or negative comment which reflects that country’s public opinion?  Was the article written at  An interpretation of events  Reflection of public  Biased Newspaper Article the time? at the time opinion at the time in  Opinionated or Editorial  Or was it written later?  Political comment for one of the countries  Does not show the evidence to  Nationality of the readers about particular involved support assertions journalist? events or policies  Insightful analysis of  May reflect uninformed public  In which newspaper did  Propaganda? events and policies opinion it originally appear?  If published in another country, is it a positive or negative comment which reflects that country’s public opinion?OPVL Chart              4  

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