How can i thoroughly analyse a source?

I always find it useful to cover up the actual image/picture initially, and focus first on the caption and what that can tell you about the souce - this also works to make sure the context and provenance are considered in reference to the question. 

The next key thing to do is to consider how much the source can tell you about whatever topic you are focussing on - however, it is important here not just to describe the source, but to attempt to make simple inferences on the knowledge that can be drawn from the source. If there are any gaps in the source you should attempt to fill them with your knowledge, not just leave them blank!

The last thing to consider should be the reliability of the source in terms of the question - what is the purpose of the source? This is particularly important in the case of sources such as commissioned paintings/pictures and magazine/journal/newspaper articles as there is a high potential for bias! When assessing the reliability of a source, it is also important to look at the context and work out if there are any contextual mishaps which may affect the conclusions you reach. 

As with any kind of analysis, the key element to remember is to ALWAYS link back to the question and ultimately to keep in mind what it is you have been asked to look for, not just to state everything you can see.

Grace W. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Grace, a GCSE History tutor with MyTutor

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


PremiumJack Robert C. GCSE English tutor, GCSE History tutor, A Level Histor...
View profile
£20 /hr

Jack Robert C.

Degree: Masters of Letters in Intellectual History (Masters) - St. Andrews Unversity University

Subjects offered: History, Politics+ 2 more


“The beckoning of an authentic life shattered my soul around the age of twelve, falling into anabyss where the light of Philosophy and study of the academic disciplines redeemed my existence and became my redemption. I am now happy in ...”

Zoe W. GCSE French tutor, A Level French tutor, GCSE German tutor, A ...
View profile
£20 /hr

Zoe W.

Degree: French and German BA (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: History, German+ 3 more

English Literature

“About me:  I am a student at the University of Bristol studying French and German, although I also did History and Enlgish at A level and loved the subjects as well! I am very enthusiastic when it comes to these subjects and would lov...”

Charlotte F. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level English Literatur...
View profile
£18 /hr

Charlotte F.

Degree: BA Joint Hons English and History (Bachelors) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered: History, German+ 4 more

English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Hello!I'm Charlotte, a 3rd year English and History undergraduate at the University of Nottingham. When I'm not writing essays I like to spend time singing with various musical societies, and watching back-to-back Disney films or ent...”

About the author

Grace W. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor
View profile

Grace W.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Politics (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: History, English Literature

English Literature

“Hi, I'm Grace, and I'm a politics student at Exeter looking to tutor GCSE English Lit and History as these are subjects I'm passionate about”

You may also like...

Posts by Grace

How can I successfully structure an English Literature essay?

How can i thoroughly analyse a source?

Other GCSE History questions

What were the main aims of the “Big 3” leaders involved in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 and how happy were they with the end result?

How do I write a history essay?

How do I tackle a source based paper?

How was Hitler able to rise to power by 1933?

View GCSE 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