How do I avoid falling into the second mark band when analysing a source?

  • Google+ icon
  • LinkedIn icon
  • 459 views

Source analysis in GCSE history exams can be exceedingly tricky and it is very easy to miss out on the top marks because of a phrase or observation that the marking scheme deems as lower tier.

When analysing a source, be it written or pictorial, there are several key questions you should ask yourself. The most important of these is what is the message it is attempting to convey and why has it been created. Context is very useful in this instance in trying to place the emotions that the source is trying to provoke, say if it was a piece of propaganda as they often are. However do not fall into the trap of discussing the author’s potential bias. Of course the author has intentions and you should highlight this and if possible try to analyse them if you are familiar with the authorship but this is not the same as highlighting bias. When using the word bias it is too easy to oversimplify the source and simply denounce it as useless. In order to get the best possible marks argue in your answer that the authors intent must be taken into account when analysing the source but that the intent is actually very valuable as it allows you to argue a second level of analysis as the authors intentions also tell you about the period and the purpose of the source at a deeper level.

James B. GCSE English Language tutor, A Level History tutor, GCSE His...

About the author

is an online GCSE History tutor with MyTutor studying at York University

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

95% of our customers rate us

Browse tutors

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

mtw:mercury1:status:ok