Questions to Ask of a Source
A historian will ask a variety of questions in order to find out historical information about a source. The same questions can be asked of either a Primary Source or a Secondary Source. There are six key questions to ask:
WHO? WHERE? WHAT? WHEN? HOW? WHY?
Listed below are a selection of questions that might be asked of a source by a historian. Please note that not every question will be used for every source.
- WHO made it?
- WHO used it?
- WHO is in the picture?
- WHOSE opinion does it show?
Who made it? The Romans in AD 45
Who used it? The Romans
Who is in the picture? The head on the coins show who was emperor.
- WHERE is it?
- WHERE was it?
- WHERE was it made?
- WHERE was it used?
Where is it? It is in the Louvre art gallery, Paris.
Where was it? It was in Italy. It is now in the Louvre gallery, Paris.
Where was it made? It was made in Italy by Leonardo da Vinci.
Where was it used? It was used to hang on a wall for decoration.
- WHEN was it made?
- WHEN was it used?
- When does it show?
When was it made? It was made in 1215.
When was it used? It was used in 1215 to force King John to grant concessions to the barons
When does it show? It shows the feelings of the barons in 1215.
- HOW was it made?
- HOW was it used?
- HOW has it survived?
How was it made? It was made in a factory - there may be a stamp on the base of the mug that gives details of the factory or potter.
How was it used? It was/is used for people to drink hot beverages from.
How has it survived? It has survived because it was made this year.
- WHY was it made?
- WHY has it survived?
Why was it made? Because people like Van Gogh paintings and because there is only one original painting; posters like this enable many people to see art.
Why has it survived? It has survived because it is fairly new and has been looked after.
Spying became an integral part of the Cold War. Both sides went out of their way to acquire as much knowledge as they could about each other. While Hollywood has romanticized the whole image of espionage, the real thing is far from romantic. It is a dangerous cat and mouse game that typically results in torture, prison, or execution if caught by the opposing team.
During the Cold War, spies had to prepare... Read More
The seafaring Vikings were a group of people that came from the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They made an enduring name for themselves through the 8th and 11th century for being tactical warriors, smart traders, and daring explorers. In fact, they arrived in America way before Columbus ever did, and archeologists have found some of their remnants scattered as far East as Russia.
... Read More
The Middle Ages is full of historical myths. Many historians blame this on the rise of Humanism and the Renaissance movement that appeared in the early Modern Period. Both of these cultural shifts encouraged society to look back at Medieval times in disgust. Gothic architecture from the Middle Ages was abandoned in the beginning of the Modern era, and replaced by classic Greek and Roman architecture. In other... Read More
1. The First Thanksgiving
What they told you: Escaping religious prosecution, the pilgrims left England on sailboats and landed on Plymouth Rock, barely surviving their first winter. With the graceful help of a nearby Indian tribe, who taught the settlers how to fish and hunt the land, the early colonists succeeded in establishing a foothold in the vast North American Wilderness. Thus, the pilgrims held their... Read More
How World War II Began
World War II was one of the most destructive conflicts in all of human history. More than forty-six million civilians and soldiers died, many in cruel and horrifying circumstances that lasted for years. The majority of them were unknown faces, lost in time and history, and only recognized by the people who loved them. Their lives, culture, and livelihood were swept away from one day to... Read More