What is it? Primary or Secondary source?
What is main topic or issue addressed?
Who wrote (or said or produced) the source?
Who created it?
When and where was it written (spoken or produced)?
When and where was it published?
Why was this source produced? Why does this document exist? Why did the author create this piece of work?
Who is the intended audience- was it exclusive or for public consumption? What was the intent? Why did the author choose this particular format?
Who was the author thinking would receive this?
What does the document say?
Can it tell you more than is on the surface?:
How the topics/issues/events presented on the document affect society? Connect specifics of the document with your overall understanding of the historical topic; incorporate background info: what were the controversies of the time? Make connections between the details of the document/photo/cartoon and the author’s message. Use examples from the document to reveal lager themes; the larger historical impact. How can you tell the author’s message? What do they want done, or what do they think is good or bad about the time period/issue? What in the document reveals this perspective?
What background info about this source’s topic/issue is relevant? Set the stage:
List two examples used by the author to offer reasons for his/ her claim(s) - this would be factual or at least seemingly factual points?
Quote one sentence or phrase that represents the importance of the topic being addressed (of course this would be according to the author’s judgement) - explain how so.
How does this author’s perspective provide valuable insight into the topic (what can we find out- what aspect of American culture is revealed)?
How does the author’s motive (purpose) limit a historical investigation? What else might one want to find about this historical topic before deciding to agree with...