- 3-5 pages
- Font: Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial
- Font Size: 11-12
- Minimum Number of Sources: 4 sources
o You can use your textbook as a source
o You can use both primary and secondary sources
o No Wikipedia—except to find other sources
o Style: Please use the style with which you are most familiar. MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and APA are all acceptable.
- In-paper citations
o Style: information:
o You can use footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citation (Galloway, 27) – whichever you are most comfortable with.
- Awareness of Academic Audience
o You are writing a formal academic paper. Please proofread your paper for errors in grammar and punctuation. Failure to do so will lower your grade.
Students will choose a document created between 1914 and 2014. Students will then write an organized 3-5 page analysis of the document. Your paper should include the following:
Thesis: Your thesis (main argument) should be clearly articulated in your first paragraph and should answer the following question: Is your primary source document a reliable account of the past? If so, how should a historian approach/use the document? If not, is it still useful to historians in some way?
Document Identification and Brief Summary: You should provide identification for the document including the document’s title, author or authors, and a description of when and where the document was produced.
Following your identification, you should write a brief summary of the document (no more than 1/3 of a page) addressing the document’s main points.
Context: Your next task will be to describe the world in which the document was produced. How does the information in this document fit into the “bigger picture” as described by historians? For this part of the assignment, you will need to consult secondary sources (encyclopedias, magazine articles, books by historians, and essays from scholarly journals). Understanding the historical background of the document will help you to better understand and analyze the document itself.
Analysis: Your analysis should provide evidence for your thesis and should address as many of the following questions as possible:
1. Are there any obvious errors in the document?
2. When was the document produced?
a. Is the document contemporary to the events it describes, or was it written later?
b. Is the document in the original language in which it was written? If not, is there any reason to doubt the reliability of the translation?
c. Was the document originally written in an older form of English or in a regional dialect that differs from modern standardized English?
a. Middle English: the language of Chaucer (1150-1490)
b. Early Modern English: the language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible (1490-1700)
c. Were different letter shapes originally used, such as the ſ (long s) or Þ (a symbol that makes the “th” sound?
d. Could the document have been altered after it was produced, either intentionally or through poor translation?
3. What is the document? (Is it a memoir, poem, novel, speech, law, study, sermon, Church document, song, letter, etc.)?
a. Does the genre of writing affect the content and believability of the document?
4. What does the document tell us about the society in which it was produced?
a. Do you think that the author’s views reflect or conflict with those of his society?
5. How reliable is the author?
a. What are the author’s motives for writing the document (why was it written)? What is his or her goal?
b. What biases or assumptions might color the author’s views?
c. Did the author directly witness the events described in the document, or did he or she receive the information second-hand?
d. How involved was the author in the events he or she describes and how might this involvement color his or her views on the subject matter?
e. Is there any reason to believe the author may not be telling the truth?
f. Can you find additional information by reading “between the lines?” Is there anything that the author implies, but does not say?
g. Is the author consistent? Are there any contradictions in his writing?
6. Who was the author writing to (the intended audience for the document)? How does this affect the document’s believability?
a. Was the document meant to be public or private?
b. Was the author trying to convince others of a certain position or narrative of events?
c. Could the contents of the document have potentially hurt or boosted the author’s reputation? Might the author have exaggerated or downplayed certain aspects to make himself or herself look better?
7. Is there any evidence to corroborate the claims made by the document?
a. Are there any other written sources from the same period that describe the same events or express similar ideas?
b. If so, is information in in the document corroborated by other sources? Are any significant facts omitted, and if so, why do you believe they were
These solutions may offer step-by-step problem-solving explanations or good writing examples that include modern styles of formatting and construction of bibliographies out of text citations and references. Students may use these solutions for personal skill-building and practice. Unethical use is strictly forbidden.Primary Source Analysis
Many believe World War I began with the assassinations of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife Countess Sophie Chotek in Serajevo, on June 28, 1914; yet, hostilities would not begin for another month. The ‘Willy-Nicky’ telegrams show the historian a different story, a world where war was not a forgone conclusion at the time of the assassinations and through these personal telegrams the historian has a reliable inside perspective.
The so called ‘Willy-Nicky’ telegrams are a series of ten telegrams between friends and cousins the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Russian Tsar Nicholas II. The telegrams were sent between July 29, 1914 and August 1, 1914 and were intended to be personal communications between the two leaders. These telegrams were in response to the assassinations of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife Countess Sophie Chotek in Serajevo, on June 28, 1914. In a letter from Emperor Franz Joseph of Vienna, delivered to the Kaiser Willhelm II of...
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