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Answering Part A

1. Things to identify and discuss:

Content - what is the source saying? Do both sources mention the

same/different things?
Tone - does the source give a positive or negative view? Do both sources give
similar or conflicting views?
Audience - who was the producer's intended audience? Do both sources have
the same intended audience? How would the source(s) have been received by
their audience(s)?
Purpose - what did the writer hope to achieve by producing the source? Do both
sources have similar purposes?
Origin - where does the source come from? How different/similar are the origins
of the two sources?

2. Things to evaluate:

Reliability - can the source's evidence be trusted? Do the writer's

aims/audience affect their reliability? Is the source likely to be one-sided? Can
one source be trusted more than the other? For example, if one source was
produced by enemies of the government, it is likely to be one-sided, and cannot
be completely trusted as an exact and accurate picture of the government's
Completeness - how complete is the picture given by the source? What gaps
are left? Is one source more complete than the other? For example, if the source
is written by enemies of the government, they are likely to leave gaps that
concern what the monarchy is doing right. In this way, the source can be said to
give an incomplete picture.
Consistency - how consistent is the source with your own knowledge? Is one
source in better agreement with what you know to be true than the other
Typicality - does the source say what happened every time, or does it present
just one occasion? Do both sources say what happened every time?
Utility - how useful are the sources to historians studying the period? Is one
source more useful than the other? This can be linked to content (more
information = more useful), completeness, (fewer gaps = more useful), reliability
(unbiased = more useful).
Provenance - is one source likely to be more one-sided than the other? What is
the date on the two sources, and who produced them? Can this affect reliability?

3. Judgement

You should reach a clear, strong judgement as to which source is the most useful
or reliable. Don't 'sit on the fence' - make sure that you discuss both sides of the
argument, but at the end make a clear decision. Answer the question in the

4. Other
Clear structure - paragraphs etc
Accurate terminology
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Accurate contextual knowledge
Focus on question at all times - don't drift to irrelevant aspects. Make sure
that every point you make is answering the question set.

5. General advice:
• Identify the debate in the sources. What is the key point on which they
• Mention both sources in most sentences, comparing them for similarities
and differences.
• Say that a source must be treated with caution, and explain why. This is
reliability and usefulness.
• Use quotations from the sources as this shows understanding of the
question and of the sources.
• Make it clear which source you are talking about, e.g. by writing "(source
A)" or just "(B)".