Columbus State University Archives

Analyzing Primary Sources

Special care must be taken when analyzing primary sources. You must think critically and consider all facets of the source. When looking at primary sources consider the author - who created it? Does this author have a particular bias or agenda? Did the author intend this for a specific audience - was it ever meant to be shared publicly? Also consider the date, as this is important for context. What else was happening during the time period the source was created?

As you are looking at your source also think about how it relates to a broader narrative. For example, how do strikes in Columbus textile mills help tell the story of labor history in the United States? What was Blind Tom's impact on musicology? What do Carson McCullers' correspondence reveal about the literature industry?