Analyzing a Primary or Secondary Document
When confronted with a historical document/source, the first thing you should be able to do is summarize what it says. Take a minute to paraphrase the document in one sentence. This, however, is not analysis. This is summarizing. To analyze a document, you should be able to address the following:
Historical Context- What is going on in this time period? How does this document influenced by the time period? Is this document responding to issues in this period?
Audience (Intended)- For whom is this document written? How does the audience influence the message put forth in the document?
Purpose- What is the author trying to achieve? What impact is the author/ creator trying to have on the intended audience?
Point of View- Do not write this off as just "bias." This is the culmination of all of the components above. Why is this author putting forth this message at this time? Differentiate between the document's "point" (what the document says and how it says it) and the document's "point of view" (why the document says what it does the way it does.