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History - Historical documents : how to read them: Home

Introduction

Anything written in the past can constitute an historical document or “text,” whether it is a letter, diary, shopping list, literary text, memo, novel, film, charter, or act of parliament. Although the form and content of documents may vary, there are certain questions that can be asked of any document to facilitate analysis. It is important to ask the right questions and to make the right assumptions. Rather than simply reading the document, examine it closely to find the clues that are contained within it. The questions from the tabs above will help you analyse any document to get a complete picture of its subject matter, period, message, significance, etc.

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