Advice on Handling Sources

Ben Sandell provides a series of tips on how to gain the best grade.

Most history students at secondary school level spend significant amounts of time studying historical sources. This short guide, though necessarily general in nature, aims to offer advice on important source analysis techniques.

Using historical ‘labels’

Try to avoid the temptation to ‘label’ sources – especially if you then proceed to avoid explaining the ‘label’. So, for example, it is unhelpful to label a particular source ‘Marxist’ or ‘structuralist’ and so on, unless you explain what such terms mean and why you judge the source in question to be coloured by the traits associated with such terminology. In short, avoid using labels as surrogates for real explanations.

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