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About the Strategy

Whether it's an obscure artifact or a famous document, the key to understanding primary sources is in the analysis. Analyzing primary sources means becoming a historian, looking at the world through the eyes of people in the past and the things they left behind. It also entails asking questions.

  • What is the primary source?
  • When and where was it created?
  • Who created it?
  • What was the purpose of creating it?
  • What does it reveal about the place and time in which it was created?


Read the following articles examine how to use primary sources in the classroom.

Using Primary Sources in the Classroom
The Library of Congress describes the various types of primary sources and offers suggestions on how to use them in the classroom.

Why Use Primary Sources?
The Library of Congress explores how primary sources help students develop knowledge and analytical skills, explains how to select primary sources, and offers ideas for organizing instruction.

The Never-ending Journey - Defining Primary Sources (PDF)
This reading explores one teacher's strategies for teaching with primary sources.