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First, you must start with a close reading of the primary source. For each source you read, you should ask the following questions, and if you do not know the information, you should conduct independent research to ensure that you do.
Who wrote the source and what do we know about them?
When was it written?
What is the historical context (e.g. events that were taking place when it was created)?
Why was it created?
Who was the intended audience?
What point of view does it represent?
How does this point of view shape the source?
Is it characteristic of the work of a particular author or movement?
Does it reflect a broader change in society/politics/culture?
Does the document relate to another specific historical movement or event?
How has the source been assessed by historians/scholars?