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Primary Source Analysis Exercises

Instructions and links to exercises that teach how to analyze primary sources


You should always verify and evaluate the information you find. Just because something is a primary source doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have bias or that the facts shouldn't be verified. You can start by determining the purpose/bias of the author of the document. 

There are six activities to guide you through evaluating different types of primary sources including flyers, letters, maps, photographs, and posters.You may not be able to answer some of the questions.You are encouraged to search the Internet to learn more about the items to see if you can find answers or make an educated guess.

Click on the image for the item of interest and it will take you to the activity.

Flyer Activity

Flyer promoting boycott of Woolworth and Kress stores

Photograph Activity

Photograph of Berkeley Hardware Store

Poster Activity

World War I Poster encouraging canning

Map Activity

1853 map of San Francisco

Photograph Activity

Photograph of picketers outside of J. C. Penney's

Letter Activity

Letter from Julia Morgan to William Randolph Hearst