Primary Source Analysis

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Primary Source Analysis Assignment 2
This assignment will prepare you to write your historical/archival research paper.

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First, write the name and dates of the historical pandemic you have chosen to study for
your historical research project at the top of the page. Second, underneath this title, write
an MLA-style citation for your primary source at the top of the page, as well as the “stable
URL” or web address from the place you found the original source. Finally, below your
citation, provide detailed answers to the following questions.


1) Describe the appearance of the source, including images and unique attributes.
2) Who is the author or creator of the source?
3) When was the source composed?
4) Describe any important historical events that happened during this time.
5) Who was the intended audience for this source? How do you know?
4) What is the purpose of the source? (Note that some primary sources, such as letters to
the editor, have a central theme or argument and are intended to persuade; others, such
as census data, are purely factual.)
5) Describe the culture (the characteristics, customary beliefs, social habits, religion, etc. of that group of people) in which the source was created and consumed (read or viewed).
6) How do the author or creator’s gender and socioeconomic class compare to those of
the people about whom he or she is writing?
7) What unspoken assumptions does the text contain? What does the author or creator
assume the reader or viewer will already know?
8) What biases are detectable in the source? What do you think was the author or creator’s
attitude or opinion about the source’s subject?
9) Was the original text commissioned by anyone or published by a press with a particular
10) How do other contemporary sources compare with this one? (Find another source and
compare it)

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