Sourcing in AP World History: Understanding the Basics
Learning about history is not just about memorizing important events and dates. It is also about understanding the context behind them.
In AP World History, one of the skills that students need to master is sourcing. Sourcing is a crucial skill that helps you analyze primary and secondary sources and understand their origin, purpose, content, and audience.
What is Sourcing?
Sourcing refers to the process of examining a historical document or artifact to determine its authenticity, reliability, and relevance. It involves asking questions such as who created the document, when was it created, why was it created, what does it say or show, and for whom was it intended?
Types of Historical Sources
Historical sources can be categorized into two types: primary sources and secondary sources.
- Primary Sources: These are first-hand accounts of historical events or periods. Examples include diaries, letters, speeches, photographs, maps, artifacts, and newspapers.
- Secondary Sources: These are interpretations or analyses of primary sources by historians or scholars. Examples include textbooks, articles, biographies, documentaries.
The Four Elements of Sourcing
To successfully source a historical document or artifact in AP World History exam essays or short answer questions you need to consider four elements:
- Origin: Who created the source? What was his/her background? What were his/her biases?
- Purpose: Why was the source created? What message did the creator want to convey?
- Content: What information does the source contain?
Is it reliable? Does it support or contradict other sources?
- Audience: For whom was the source intended? Was it meant for a specific group of people or for the general public?
Why is Sourcing Important?
Sourcing plays a critical role in AP World History because it helps you:
- Develop critical thinking skills: By analyzing primary and secondary sources, you learn to question assumptions, identify biases, and evaluate evidence.
- Understand historical context: Historical events cannot be understood without considering the context in which they occurred. Sourcing helps you understand the cultural, social, political, and economic factors that shaped them.
- Write effective essays: In AP World History exams, sourcing is often required as part of essay prompts. By mastering sourcing skills, you can write more insightful and persuasive essays that earn higher scores.
The Bottom Line
Sourcing is an essential skill in AP World History that enables students to understand historical events in context. By mastering sourcing skills, you can analyze primary and secondary sources effectively and write insightful essays that earn high scores. Remember to consider the four elements of sourcing – origin, purpose, content, and audience – when examining historical sources.