Evaluating Sources & Using Evidence
We recommend teachers employ the Reading Like a Historian (RLAH) approach to engaging students in historical inquiry and investigation.
The curriculum is available, from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), at: https://sheg.stanford.edu. The following series of questions to be posed to students are adapted from the RLAH/SHEG curriculum.
Sourcing and Contextualization (Answer these questions before reading the document.)
- Who wrote this?
- Why was it written?
- When and where was it written?
- How might the circumstances in which the document was created affect its content
- What claims does the author make?
- What evidence does the author use?
- Do you think this document provides a trustworthy account of the historical events?
- Why or why not?
The following 2+ minute video clip is an analysis of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border from a “Progressive” perspective –
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, representing parts of the Bronx and Queens in New York City, recasts the border crisis as an immigration, climate, and trade crisis rooted in a history of American imperialism.
The following less-than-2-minute video clip is an analysis of the border crisis from a “conservative” perspective – U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, representing Bakersfield, and the U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader, casts the situation at the border as a crisis brought on by President Biden’s administration throwing open the border and doing nothing to prevent thousands of migrants from coming in.
- If either U.S. Representative above was visiting your classroom having made the remarks above, what questions would you ask the person?
- To what extent would you agree with what the person said?
- To what extent would you disagree with what the person said?