Analysing Historical Documents

Analysing historical documents:


You can not rely on facts alone to get you through this section of the exam paper.  You must develop some of the skills of the historian and demonstrate your ability to examine, explain and interpret historical documents.

All sources of historical evidence must be analysed to determine their reliability.  It is important therefore to check sources for, bias, propaganda selectivity, balance and objectivity.


Bias:  Giving preference to a particular viewpoint.


Propaganda:  Organised spreading of information which may or may not be true.


Selectivity: Telling only part of the story.


Balance: Giving equal information on the various interpretations of a person’s actions or of an event.


Objectivity: Presenting the information in a way, which does not give favour to one side or the other.


Subjective: this is when the author gives his/her own point of view.