Primary Source Analysis Worksheet


Step 1: Identify the Source

Answer all known fields

Source title


Author or creator


Type of source


Date of source


Original source location



Physical description



Step 2: Analyze the Source

Answer all known fields, only if evidenced by the source itself


Intended Audience













Other information (such as job, social status, family info, etc.)


Other information (such as jobs, social status, families, etc.)



Step 3: Contextualize and Explore the Source

Answer only with information evidenced by the source, otherwise cite or note your

secondary source of information

Why was this source/document created?




What is the historical context of the source (i.e. political, social, economic, or environmental context)?


What opinions and/or unintentional implications are conveyed by this source?



What do you still not know, and where can you find that information?



What contextual information should be noted about you, the researcher (i.e. your race, age, gender, familial and social background, etc.)? How might that influence your interpretation of the source?



Step 4: Using the Source

What is one historical statement that can be made using the source as evidence?




What can be concluded about the validity of the source, and about its place in the broader historical/social context of the time?



Where might historians look next to continue the discussion?