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Complete the Evaluating Historical Sources Worksheet, identifying and evaluating the credibility of two primary sources and two secondary sources related to your topic.
Introduction
Note: The first three assessments in this course build on each other; therefore, it is essential that you complete them in the order presented. In this assessment, you will be choosing a topic and identifying sources you can use for reference.
Before you can address any kind of challenge in your personal or professional life, gathering accurate information is a must. In a world of fake news, instant communication, and dubious online sources, the quest for reliable facts has become increasingly difficult. In our information-rich society (we’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day), it is essential to identify and rely on trustworthy information.
What question are you really trying to answer? Are the sources of information you have relevant to your topic? What types of information do you need? As you take a look at some of the pivotal economic, political, and social challenges throughout American history, you’ll learn from historians about the kinds of information they gather as they answer important questions about our past. You’ll also get to play historian yourself as you begin your own process of gathering and evaluating evidence, including both primary and secondary sources. In the first assessment, you will choose a historical event, issue, or movement related to one of two broad topics–civil rights or technological and economic change–and you’ll locate and analyze primary and secondary sources about your topic.
What are primary and secondary sources? Primary sources are firsthand accounts from people living in a particular time period, such as Frederick Douglass’s autobiography or Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Primary sources can also include statistical information about the era being studied (for example, census data from the 19th century).
Secondary sources, on the other hand, are analyses and interpretations of historical events or issues based on primary sources. For example, a secondary source might be a journal article in which a historian compares the experiences of slaves in North and South Carolina in the first half of the 19th century or a documentary about women’s suffrage.
Note: The first three assessments in this course build on each other; therefore, it is essential that you complete them in the order presented. Review the brief overview below to see how these three assessments progress.
Assessment 1
Choose your topic.
Identify primary and secondary resources related to your topic.
Research your topic using the Evaluating Historical Sources Worksheet.
Assessment 2
Use the evidence from Assessment 1 to formulate your explanation or main argument for your topic.
Use the Historical Analysis Worksheet to examine your sources.
Assessment 3
Use your research from assessments 1 and 2 to create and record your presentation.
Overview
For this assessment, imagine you represent your company at a service organization dealing with one of these two issues:
1. Facing economic change.
2. Engaging civil rights.
Your supervisor has asked you to research information related to the history of your chosen issue for your organization to help new employees and volunteers better understand it. Your job is to put together a list of credible sources related to the issue of your choice and then use problem-solving and innovative thinking to evaluate them using the Evaluating Historical Sources Worksheet [DOCX].
Preparation
Complete the following:
Step 1: Choose Your Topic
Choose a topic and narrow its focus. Think about who you want to focus on and what event or challenge you want to focus on. For example, your topic could compare the challenges faced by farmers during the Great Depression with the challenges they faced during the 2008 recession.
Economic Change:
What if the bottom falls out?
How can you prepare for and protect yourself from bad times based on lessons learned from the Great Recession of 2008 or the Great Depression?
What happens when the workplace changes?
How can people adjust when the workplace changes? What lessons can we learn from America’s Industrial Revolution, the new economy of the 1950s, or the Information Age?
Civil Rights:
Women.
What strategies were used and what lessons can we learn from the struggles women faced in the late 1800s–early 1900s or the 1960s and 1970s for engaging and understanding current and future women’s rights issues?
African Americans.
Considering past struggles such as Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era or the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s for African American civil rights, what lessons can we learn about the best strategies for protecting civil rights now and in the future?
Native Americans.
How can lessons learned from events or policies such as the Trail of Tears, the Indian Removal Act, or the Dawes Act be used to address the challenges Native Americans face today?
Immigrant Groups.
Based on lessons learned from immigration policies in the late 1800s and early 1900s, how can present-day immigration issues be addressed?
Step 2: Identify Resources
Review the History Presentation Resource List [DOCX]. Choose two sources from the list that correspond to your topic. Some of the items in the resource list are collections, so you’ll have to dig a little deeper to find a specific source that matches your topic.
Step 3: Research
Conduct your own research to locate two additional sources relevant to your topic. The additional sources should be resources from the Capella library or credible websites. For help finding sources on the Internet and in the Capella library, review the resource Primary vs. Secondary Resources. To ensure you are finding quality sources, refer to the Capella library’s Think Critically About Source Quality and General Education Information Research Skills: Evaluating Sources resource pages. The General Education Information Research Skills: Guide can be helpful in learning the library and other general research skills.
Instructions
Use the Evaluating Historical Sources Worksheet [DOCX] to complete the following steps. Be sure to answer each question in the worksheet for each source.
Step 1: Identify quality primary and secondary sources related to a historical topic.
Step 2: Identify key elements of each source, including the author, date, and main idea.
Step 3: Describe the biases and perspectives of the authors of each source.
Step 4: Explain why each source is or is not credible.
Step 5: Write in a well-organized and concise manner that adheres to the rules of grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Additional Requirements
Your assessment should meet the following requirements:
Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
Citations: Include a complete citation for each source. Review Evidence and APA for more information on how to cite your sources.
Number of references: Your assessment should include at least four properly cited sources, two primary and two secondary.
Font and font-size: Times New Roman, 12-point.
Competencies Measured
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
Competency 1: Analyze historical records to determine credibility and validity.
Identify quality primary and secondary sources related to a historical topic.
Identify key elements of each source, including the author, date, and main idea.
Describe the biases and perspectives of the authors of each source.
Describe key facts presented in each source.
Explain why each source is or is not credible.
Competency 4: Address assessment purpose in a well-organized manner, incorporating appropriate evidence and tone in grammatically sound sentences.
Write in a well-organized and concise manner that adheres to the rules of grammar, usage, and mechanics.

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