1. Identification & Evaluation of Sources
This section requires students to analyze in detail two of the sources that they will use in their investigation. The sources can be either primary or secondary sources. In this section students must:
- Clearly state the question they have chosen to investigate (this must be stated as a question)
- Include a brief explanation of the nature of the two sources they have selected for detailed analysis, including an explanation of their relevance to the investigation
- Analyze two sources in detail. With reference to the origins, purpose and content, the student should
- Analyze the value and limitations of the two sources in relation to the investigation.
A crucial element of this section of the internal assessment task is formulating an appropriate question to investigate. The six key concepts for the history course (causation, consequence, continuity, change, significance and perspectives) can be a very useful starting point in helping students to formulate a question.
This section of the internal assessment task consists of the actual investigation. The internal assessment task provides scope for a wide variety of different types of historical investigation, for example:
- a historical topic or theme using a variety of written sources or a variety of written and non-written sources
- a historical topic based on fieldwork, for example, a museum, archaeological site, battlefields, places of worship such as mosques or churches, historic buildings
- a local history study.
The investigation must be clearly and effectively organized. While there is no prescribed format for how this section must be structured, it must contain critical analysis that is focused clearly on the question being investigated, and must also include the conclusion that the student draws from their analysis.
In this section, students must use a range of evidence to support their argument. Please note that students can use primary sources, secondary sources, or a mixture of the two.
This section of the internal assessment task requires students to reflect on what undertaking their investigation highlighted to them about the methods used by, and the challenges facing, the historian.
Examples of discussion questions that may help to encourage reflection include the following:
- What methods used by historians did you use in your investigation?
- What did your investigation highlight to you about the limitations of those methods?
- What are the challenges facing the historian? How do they differ from the challenges facing a scientist or a mathematician?
- What challenges in particular does archive-based history present?
- How can the reliability of sources be evaluated?
- What is the difference between bias and selection?
- What constitutes a historical event?
- Who decides which events are historically significant?
- Is it possible to describe historical events in an unbiased way?
- What is the role of the historian?
- Should terms such as “atrocity” be used when writing about history, or should value judgments be avoided?
- If it is difficult to establish proof in history, does that mean that all versions are equally acceptable?
Type of assignment: Essay