Why is it important to look at who wrote a source that I want to use for my coursework?

It is vital that you look at who wrote both primary and secondary sources.

You probably know from GCSE that primary sources may be heavily influenced by all manner of characteristics belonging to the author. For example, if they were a close friend of Charles I, they are unlikely to speak positively about the Civil War that led to his death, and are more likely to exaggerate or highlight the bad things that Charles’ opponents did.

The same applies for secondary sources written by historians, as they may be influenced by their characteristics and life experiences. We must also, however, look at the methodology of a historian and whether or not they are a member of a particular school of thought.

For A-level this particularly refers to Whig historians and Revisionists.

Whig historians have typically seen history as a continuing march of progress towards the ‘ideal’ circumstances of British democracy, constitutional monarchy and Protestantism. For them, the ‘purpose’ of the past was to 'create' the present. Revisionist historians challenge these interpretations.

It is very important to know whether the author of a source is Whig or Revisionist (or neither) because it will affect their writing. For example, a Whig historian is always likely to see the Protestant Reformation in a positive light because they see Protestantism as the ideal.

Hannah N. A Level History tutor, GCSE History tutor, GCSE English and...

1 year ago

Answered by Hannah, an A Level History tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Joseph W. A Level Classical Civilisation tutor, GCSE Classical Civili...
View profile
£20 /hr

Joseph W.

Degree: Ancient, Medieval and Modern History (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: History, Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation

“About Me: Hi! I am a student at Durham University studying Ancient, Medieval and Modern History. History is absolutely fascinating to me and my degree covers a vast array of historical periods, meaning I have agood grasp of the majori...”

Matthew L. GCSE History tutor, A Level History tutor, GCSE English La...
View profile
£20 /hr

Matthew L.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered: History, Philosophy and Ethics+ 2 more

Philosophy and Ethics
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“About me My name is Matt Larkin, I am currently in my third year of a History degree at Newcastle University. I am extremely passionate about the subject and know from personal experience the importance of a passionate teacher, and I ...”

MyTutor guarantee

Felix O. 13 plus  Religious Studies tutor, A Level Religious Studies ...
View profile
£22 /hr

Felix O.

Degree: BA Modern Languages (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: History, Russian+ 2 more

Religious Studies

“So much is dependent on success in your CEs, GCSEs and A levels- so don't leave it to chance!- leave it to someone who has considerable recent success to show you how it can be done. In our 1:1 sessions, YOU are the priority; no big c...”

About the author

Hannah N. A Level History tutor, GCSE History tutor, GCSE English and...
View profile

Hannah N.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: History (Bachelors) - St. Andrews Unversity University

Subjects offered: History, Psychology+ 2 more

English and World Literature
English Literature

“Friendly and passionate tutor studying History at the world-renowned University of St Andrews. Ready and more than happy to help those who want an extra boost in History, Psychology or Literature.”

You may also like...

Posts by Hannah

How do I revise novels my English Literature GCSE exam?

How should I approach source questions in the exam?

Why can longitudinal studies be problematic?

Why is it important to look at who wrote a source that I want to use for my coursework?

Other A Level History questions

Assess the view that the military planning of the great powers, rather than their long-term rivalries, better explains the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

How do I plan a history essay under exam conditions?

How far do you agree that China had made little progress in the years 1900-1937?

How do you to answer an exam essay question successfully?

View A Level History tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss