Method | examine text sources

Method | examine text sources

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Method | Examine text sources here as pdf

Many traces from the past are available as Text sources in front of. The analysis of text sources is therefore important method of the history lesson. On this page you will find, firstly, a pattern of how text sources in three steps can be investigated (the formulation aids are only suggestions) and secondly a listing of different segu modules to different types of text sources (at the end of the page).

A | Description of the text source

Time of origin

Inform yourself at the beginning about the author or the Author. What do you know about the person, his origin and position as well as his thinking (political orientation, values)?? Take into account the Point of origin the source and (if evident) the Occasion of its creation.

  • This source was written by [author] in the year/at [date of creation].
  • [author] was at that time ..
  • The author of the source is unknown. / The time of origin of the source is unknown.
  • The occasion was ..

What kind of text source is it? There are different Source types – z.B. documents and records, letters or reports, speeches or songs, chronicles or newspaper articles, diaries or other publications. This also makes clear who the addressee of the text was. For example, letters or internal records are addressed to individual persons, but speeches or newspaper articles are addressed to the general public. Also clarify whether you have the whole source or only an excerpt of the text.

  • The source/text excerpt is [type of source], which was addressed to [addressee].


Summarize that Topic of the source n together in one sentence and then give the Content more exactly again: Which Statements are found in the text? Describe afterwards Argumentation and also consider linguistic devices (e.g.B. exaggerations, derogatory words, etc.) If you notice contradictions in the argumentation, you can point them out.

  • The subject of the source is ..
  • [Author] writes about / asserts / thereby advocates the thesis ..
  • To better understand the argumentation, the source can be divided into [number] sense sections ..
  • [author]deals with / reports on / introduces / enumerates / explains / denies / rejects / criticizes / specifies / judges / summarizes / appeals / concludes ..
  • As arguments, [author] states that…
  • The argumentation is contradictory, because ..
  • In the language used, it is noticeable that ..
  • [Author] thus pursued with his [source type] in summary the intention…
  • [Addressee] should be convinced that ..

B | Placing the text source in its historical context

So far you have only dealt with the text "per se. Now you are to understand the historical backgrounds explain and classify that are important to evaluate the author’s intention. Always relate this classification only to the Events from the time up to the origin of the source – unless the author makes a prognosis for the future in the source. Then you can evaluate if he is right or not. Often there are several statements in a source, which must be placed in different historical contexts.

  • The source was created at the time ..
  • To understand the statement(s) of the source, one must know ..
  • The statement [A, B, C] refers to…
  • Also, you need to know that ..

C | Evaluation of the text source

In order to assess the source conclusively, it is first important to make a own question to the text. The Question results from your results of the historical classification.

  • In view of … the question now arises whether ..

It is often not easy to formulate this question – therefore an example:

  • To the module Treaty of VersaillesIn his confidential notes, Erzberger weighs up the consequences of the signing or. the rejection of the treaty from. The evaluation question could therefore be: Which of the described consequences did Erzberger apparently consider to be more problematic than the other points? As a supplement, one could ask: Did Erzberger mean the consequences "When the peace is signed" – measured by what happened after the signing -? realistically estimated? But you can also formulate your own question.
  • The statements of the source / the intention of [author] is to be judged as accurate / appropriate / critical / distorted / tendentious, because … [results of the historical classification]
  • Measured against the circumstances at that time ..
  • In conclusion, it must be said about the source that ..

With some sources it offers itself to express also still its own attitude opposite the source, it thus to evaluate.

  • From today’s point of view ..

modules | examining text sources

In principle, any source can be examined according to the method of source analysis. In the following twelve segu modules the procedure can be found in the assignment. This is how you can practice examining text sources.

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