Historical Thinking

Analysis of Historical Sources

Sources from the past are the tools of historians. Sources become evidence when students use them to ask and answer questions about the past. By analysing a source a student can discover if it contains relevant evidence for their chosen historical enquiry. A source may contain useful information, but it may not be relevant for the chosen enquiry. Students use a range of sources to develop an answer to an enquiry, and students also learn to contextualise, and to compare and contrast source material. Learning to select and use historical sources to find an answer to an enquiry is a key part of students’ learning that history is made up of interpretations of the past. Students learn the skills of close observation and to ask questions about the nature, provenance, audience and purpose of sources, so that they can put them in context and assess their utility and reliability as evidence for a historical enquiry.

Learning Activities