Primary Source Reviews: 5 at 25 points each for a total of 125 points. Students are required to write 5 primary source reviews using the assigned sources indicated in the syllabus. Each review should be about 1.5-3 pages in length. The review must use information from at least 2 active web sites. Your goal is to place the primary source in historical context and to evaluate/interpret the source’s relevance to its time period. Guidelines for primary source evaluation: Each review should provide an accurate description of the author’s argument, appropriate biographical information about the author, and sufficient historical background for the time period in which the primary source was written. In addition to the course text, biographical information for the author and historical background for the primary source must come from 2 (or more) active web pages. Include the addresses for each web page at the end of the review, but DO NOT link the page to your document. The review should be about 1.5-3 pages in length. Hints: 1. Provide a biography of the author. This should be about 1-2 paragraphs. Who wrote the primary source? Why did they write it? What training did they have for their occupation? Are they associated with any movements? Are they affiliated with any organizations? What else have they written? What issues are they associated with? 2. Provide an historical context for the primary source. This should be about 1-2 paragraphs. When was the selection written? Was there a specific event or idea that inspired the author to write the selection? What big events (wars, elections, protest movements) occurred at about the same time? Select/discuss events closely related to the author’s argument(s). 3. Evaluate the primary source’s arguments. This should be about 1-3 paragraphs. a. TRACE the argument. Cite the major steps toward the author’s conclusion. What are the major turning points in the selection? What types of evidence are offered or used? Are there any obvious inaccuracies in the argument? What parts were most/least convincing? b. Discuss the author’s bias How reliable is the author? What bias does the author offer? How does that bias influence the author’s work? How does that bias influence the author’s work? Does the author claim to represent a wider ideology or view point? If so, define and explain that ideology or view point. How does the author’s view compare to others with similar ideologies? How might the author react to other ideologies existing at the time? Who are the critics/opponents of the author’s arguments? Why do these critics disagree with primary source’s author? 4. Be specific in your criticisms. You can quote a phrase from the primary source, course textbook, or web page using text notation—(source, page number). Refer to critics and supporters by name and ideology. When reviewing the primary source, provide enough detail to demonstrate that you read and understood the selection under review.
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