Evaluating Historical Sources

Submitted by Kristen Bailey on October 3rd, 2017
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Short Description: 

Made to be an in class activity or a library resource requested by professors for courses. The first page goes with the instruction portion of a class. 'What is a primary source? What is a secondary source? What is a tertiary source?' It takes them through example types of sources, particularly concerned with history courses. The second and third pages require evaluation of a student's primary and secondary sources. They include a series of questions to make the student think about what makes a source reliable, if the source has a skewed perspective, or if the source is actually related to their research topic.

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Learning Outcomes: 

Distinguish between primary and secondary sources in a specific discipline.
Evaluate potential sources and determine value .

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

This was created at the request of a history professor for integration into their lower-level history survey. The professor wanted to be able to have a reusable resource to help students evaluate the quality of materials they were using for their research. They also wanted the students to have a quick visual reminder of what constitutes a primary or secondary source in relationship to their research question.

Additional Instructor Resources (e.g. in-class activities, worksheets, scaffolding applications, supplemental modules, further readings, etc.): 
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 
Suggested Citation: 
Bailey, Kristen. "Evaluating Historical Sources." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.