Ia section c evaluation of Sources (5 marks)

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IA Section C - Evaluation of Sources (5 marks)

 A suggested number of words for this section is 400 (200 per source).

This section should consist of:

  • a critical evaluation of two important sources appropriate to the investigation

  • explicit reference to the origin, purpose, value and limitation of the selected sources.

 The two sources chosen should be appropriate for the investigation and could, for example, be written, oral or archeological. The purpose of this section is to assess the usefulness of the sources but not to describe their content or nature.

Guidelines and Suggestions

  • Put simply, you are creating an OPVL for two of your sources.

  • When stating the name of the title of your book use this format:

Author's First Name Last Name, Title: Sub-title. (Make sure you separate title from subtitle with a colon and capitalize major words. For instance: 

EXCEPTION TO THE ABOVE RULE: If the SUB-TITLE makes the title really long, such as the example immediately below, eliminate the subtitle.

TOO LONG: Arthur L. Smith, The War for the German Mind: Re-Educating Hitler's Soldiers

JUST RIGHT: Arthur L. Smith, The War for the German Mind
Anna Leigh Marquez, I.B. Crazy: I.A.s are Fun.

Within ORIGIN you must provide the year AND place the source was produced / published 

the "provenance" of the author. This means the author's origins / credibility / knowledge on the subject matter of the source. If it is a secondary source written by a historian, briefly list his academic credentials. If the author was a witness to events, indicate this.  NOTE: Keep the provenance of the author to a sentence. i.e. ...has published several books on the subject and is a Harvard professor OR Was a veteran of the Crete Campaign and helped implement the Marshall Plan after WWII as undersecretary of state....

For PURPOSE: The best authors will typically express purpose in the preface/introduction/first chapter. You may have to search for the purpose. NOTE: even narratives have a purpose. If you cannot locate a clearly articulated purpose, you may use language such as: It appears that the author’s purpose is…

  • Do not quote directly from the book regarding Origin and purpose. Put any material in your own words. Nothing should have to be cited.

For VALUE AND LIMITATIONS: These sections may not be balanced. One side of the argument may be more substantive than the other.

NOTE: When examining the source's V & L, be sure you reference the source's Origin and Purpose. In other words, why is the source valuable because of its origin and purpose. Because of its O & P, it may be limited because....

VALUE: Explain why this source is valuable in general, and address why it is particularly important to your research. Make specific references to the text and its sources; use quotes. You may comment on footnotes of the book, what kinds of sources the author used, etc.

LIMITATIONS: Again, you must be specific, providing examples from the text, quotes, etc. Limitations could include a critique of sources; a critique of whether or not the coverage is too broad to meet the author’s objectives; if the author is using out of date scholarship, relying on only newspaper articles, etc. Why might a historian need to show some degree of caution using this source?

Just because a source doesn't help you find specific information, doesn't necessarily make it a limitation. It might not be the author's purpose. It is like going to a Chinese restaurant and complaining there isn't any pizza on the menu.

IA Section D - Analysis (6 marks)

A suggested number of words for this section is 500–650.

This section should consist of an analysis of the evidence listed in Section B. This section WILL be written in prose, NOT a bullet-pointed list.

This section should consist of the following:

  • A demonstration you understand the significance of the issue in its historical context.

    • What was going on in the world during the scope of your investigation that may have influenced events that you have investigated?

    • Set the stage for a critical analysis of your evidence.

  • A critical examination of the factual material presented in Section B.

    • All references to these sources MUST be cited.

    • A critical examination of one to several possible answers for your question.

    • A critical examination of other possible interpretations / answers for your question.

  • A demonstration of your awareness of the significance of the sources that you evaluated in Section C.

    • All references to these sources MUST be cited.

  • No new material may be presented in this section.


Suggested Format of Section D

Historical Context


Write a paragraph demonstrating your understanding of the issue in its historical context. What events were going on in the United States (or world) during the scope of your investigation that may have led to underlying assumptions or points of view on this issue that you will break down and analyze in this section?  


Significance of Sources from C


Write a paragraph or two that demonstrates your awareness of the significance of the sources you evaluated in Part C. Make critical comments on evidence from those sources that could help answer your research question.


Critical examination of one possible answer


Write a paragraph or two that examines evidence from part B that could lead to one possible answer to or interpretation of your research question. Here it is essential you make critical comments based on your evidence. Discuss cause-and-effect relationships, underlying assumptions and any interrelationships that are related to the evidence you presented.


Critical examination of a different interpretation(s) 


Write a paragraph or two that examines evidence from part B that could lead to a different possible answer or interpretation to your research question. Here it is essential you make critical comments based on your evidence. Discuss cause-and-effect relationships, underlying assumptions and any interrelationships that are related to the evidence you presented.


Laying  foundation for conclusion


Write a paragraph that considers the above interpretations and starts to transition toward what you think your conclusion will say. Start laying the foundation for your conclusion. (Again, no new material will be presented in the conclusion.)


To make it clear that you are placing your topic within its historical context, literally spell it out by writing, "This investigation is important in its historical context because ___________"

Examples of historical context:

Stalin established collectivization and the five-year plans because of the very real threat of foreign invasion during the 1920s and 30s.

An example from this investigation's question: To what extent did Stalin's Five-Year Plans improve Russia’s military?

This investigation is important in its historical context because Stalin's motivation to correct the problems with Russia's military came simply from the fact that he feared other countries, due to Russia’s previous failures from World War I. Russia had lost many soldiers due to Russia’s unequipped military, such as the 200,000 casualties in the Battle of Masuria. As Stalin wrote about industrializing for military purposes in the Pravda, “We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall be crushed.”

Examiner Comment: A clear attempt at establishing historical context.

To help with Bibiliography:


Sample paper – 24/25 points

Section A - Plan of Investigation – only got 2/3 points.

This investigation will assess the success of the anarchist movement in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War. This investigation is important because historians can use this movement to judge if anarchy could work. The scope of this investigation is the anarchists’ initiatives in Catalonia between 1936 and 1937. One method used in this investigation is an examination of the novel Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Orwell describes the atmosphere in revolutionary Barcelona. This information will help judge how genuine the revolution was. Another method employed is an analysis of the documentary The Spanish Civil War, by Granada Television Productions. The documentary shows footage and eyewitness accounts of the collectivized industries in Barcelona. Historians can see how anarchism affected Catalonia.

Section B - Summary of Evidence

Historical Background

  •  In the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), fear of fascism caused an anarchist revolution in Catalonia.

  • Workers committees controlled trade unions. (Harper)

  • CNT was made up of unions. (Harper)


  • To defeat fascism. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

  • To create a free society without state, church or capitalism. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

  • “Direct control over industry by the workers”. (Orwell 61)


  • CNT had around 1,577,000 members. (Thomas 6)

  • Anarchists had “virtual control of Catalonia.” (Orwell 6)

  • Almost every building “had been seized by the workers and [were] draped with... the red and black flag of the Anarchist.” (Orwell 4)

  • Nearly 2,000 collectivized enterprises in Catalonia. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

  • Included construction, metal, food, public utilities, transportation, health, wood, entertainment, beauty, and hotel industries. (Souchy 86)


  • Trams abolished manager and three assistants, saving 13,825 pesetas a month. (Souchy 86-7)

  • 40 hour week established. (Souchy 86-7)

  • Transportation consolidated into one efficient system, meaning better facilities, fare reduction by 5 centimes, and free rides for children, aged, and wounded. (Souchy 87)

Public Utilities

  • Workers repaired telephone lines without orders. (Souchy 88)

Wood industry

  • Workers closed 80-90 factories due to poor lighting, ventilation, or machinery. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

Economic Conditions

  • Wages increased by 15% from July 1936 to May 1937. (Thomas 630)

  • No unemployment. (Orwell 6)

  • Few destitute people and no beggars. (Orwell 6)

  • Free medical care and pensions provided. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

  • Church stripped of power. (Orwell 4)




  • CNT collaborated with the Generalidad government in order to fight fascism. (Bailey)

  • By 1937, Generalidad reduced collectivization, abolished local committees, and took over key industries because of the war. (Orwell 55)

Economic Conditions

  • By May 1937, food prices were double those in July 1936. (Thomas 629-30)

  • By March 1937, the rate of inflation was over 6.5% a month. (Thomas 512)

  • The “roads and buildings were in poor repair, the streets at night were dimly lit”. (Orwell 5-6)

  • FAI leader Abad de Santillán admits that collectivization replaced one owner with “a half-dozen new owners”. (Thomas 511-2)


  • Revolutionary spirit was only superficial. (Leval 51)

  • By April 1937 Barcelona “was an ordinary city... with no outward sign of working-class predominance”. (Orwell 109)

Anarchy’s End

  • People who felt threatened by the anarchists joined the communists (Thomas 628)

  • From October 1936 onwards, the communists gained power in the Generalidad as the USSR sent them supplies. The anarchists were phased out of the government. (Orwell 52-3)

  • Mistrust between communists and anarchists culminated in the 1937 Barcelona ‘May Days’. (Thomas 635)

  • Fighting began May 3rd at the Telefónica, when the communists tried to take it. (Thomas 636)

  • The next day, fighting spread to the streets. (Thomas 639)

  • CNT officials couldn't control the fighting. (Thomas 639-40)

  • Riots end May 8th. (Thomas 641)

  • Anarchists feel betrayed by their leaders for asking them to stop fighting. (Battle Ground for Idealists)

  • Anarchists lose power to the communists. (Thomas 643)

  • “May Days showed that… there was a large gap between the anarchist ministers and the people on the streets.” (Thomas 642-3)


  • Some historians believe that the anarchists would have survived if it weren’t for the war. (Bailey)

Section C - Evaluation of Sources

George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia.

This source was published in 1938 and is a first-hand account of Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Originally going to Spain as a journalist, he soon joined the communist P.O.U.M as a soldier. Orwell is the author of several essays and novels, including Animal Farm and 1984. The purpose of his memoir is to recount his experiences in Spain.

This novel has been a valuable primary source. Orwell provides information about the emotions of the time. He compares the revolutionary atmosphere in Barcelona in 1936 and 1937. Orwell argues that the revolutionary spirit was diminishing in Barcelona, which is backed up with visual and auditory descriptions. He also describes the disintegration of the city during the revolution.  

This source has some limitations. Orwell is a foreigner in Spain, so he does not know about Spanish culture. When he talks about the revolutionary spirit in Barcelona, he cannot know if this was unusual. Also, Orwell admits that he went to Spain simply to fight against fascism, and was not as aware of the politics as the other soldiers. Nevertheless, Orwell is biased against the fascists, and is more likely to defend the actions of the POUM. Also Orwell might make the revolution seem more successful than it actually was, since he was fighting against the fascists.

Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War                

This source was written and published in 1962. Thomas graduated from Queen’s College, Cambridge, and wrote numerous books, including Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom and The Slave Trade. The purpose of his novel is to analyze the Spanish Civil War.

                This book has been a valuable secondary-source for my investigation. Thomas synthesizes information from a variety of different sources, and uses this to draw his conclusions. The source focuses less on the emotions at the time, and more on events and facts. Also, because the scope of the book is the entire Spanish Civil War, anarchy in Catalonia is put into the context of the rest of the war.

                There were also limitations in this book. Thomas, an English historian, wrote his book during the time of Franco’s dictatorship, and originally published it in London. Because of this, Thomas might have had a bias against the anarchists. Many countries in 1962 feared the spread of communism and anarchy, so Thomas might have been more critical of anarchist success.

Section D - Analysis

This investigation is important in its historical context because the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) influenced the anarchist movement in Catalonia. In general, the two sides in the war were the fascists led by Franco, and the republicans, led by the Popular Front. The socialists, communists, and anarchists in Catalonia feared an oppressive fascist regime. (Bailey) Because of this fear, the anarchists did not have complete control in Catalonia, and some historians argue that anarchy would have survived, had it not been for the war. (Bailey)

The anarchists’ aims were to create a free society without state, church, or capitalism (Battle Ground for Idealists), have the workers control industry (Orwell 61), and defeat fascism. (Battle Ground for Idealists) In order to achieve this, the anarchists created the CNT, which was made up of unions and worker’s committees (Harper), and had 1,577,000 members. (Thomas 6) The huge membership shows that the anarchists’ ideals were popular among the working class; however, it is important to judge the CNT’s influence.

Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia describes the CNT’s “virtual control of Catalonia” (Orwell 6) in December 1936. Almost every building “had been seized by the workers and [were] draped with... the red and black flag of the Anarchist.” (Orwell 4) Anarchy could only survive with support from the people, and from Orwell’s account, Catalonia had embraced it. As the revolution spread, people stripped power from the church. (Orwell 4) Here, the anarchists succeeded in accomplishing their goal of liberating society from governing bodies.

                On the other hand, the fight against fascism prevented the anarchists from gaining complete control. Because the anarchists’ main objective was to stop fascism, the CNT betrayed anarchist principles (Bailey) and collaborated with the Catalan government, the Generalidad. The Generalidad reduced collectivization, abolished local committees, and took over key industries. (Orwell 55) The anarchists’ own goals impeded their revolution.

In fact, the whole revolution was superficial. Support for the CNT was completely fictitious, and most people did not agree with anarchist principles. (Leval 51) Orwell supports this in his second description of Barcelona. By April 1937, the city showed “no outward sign of working-class predominance.” (Orwell 109) This suggests that many people did not believe in the revolution, and by 1937, revolutionary fervor had vanished. The revolution could not have lasted if it did not have unrelenting support from the people.

                Nevertheless, anarchy slightly improved the Catalan economy. Two-thousand industries were collectivized (Battle Ground for Idealists), including everything from construction to food. (Souchy 86) The anarchists’ goal of self-management was often exemplified. For example, workers unified the transportation industry into one efficient system, providing better facilities, lower fares, and free rides for children, cripples, or elders. (Souchy 87) They abolished the tram manager and three assistants, saving the company 13,825 pesetas monthly. (Souchy 86-7) This provides proof that workers could more efficiently run the companies. Another example is the public utilities. In three days, workers fixed all damaged telephone poles on their own initiative. (Souchy 88) Workers were still motivated to do their jobs, and took responsibility for the survival of the city, and therefore the revolution.

                Anarchy also benefited the workers. They controlled the factories and working conditions. In the wood industry, 80-90 factories were closed due to poor lighting, ventilation, or machinery. (Battle Ground for Idealists) Forty-hour weeks (Souchy 86-7), free medical care and pensions were introduced. (Battle Ground for Idealists) There was no unemployment in Barcelona (Orwell 6), and few destitute people or beggars. (Orwell 6) From July 1936 to May 1937, wages increased by 15%. (Thomas 630) These improvements imply success: the workers were using their newfound control in the factories to improve conditions.

                Unfortunately, the little success that the anarchists had was overshadowed by the damage they were doing. Anarchist leader Santillán admitted that collectivization had replaced one owner with new, less competent owners. (Thomas 511-2) By March 1937, the rate of inflation exceeded 6.5% per month, and food prices had doubled by May; the cost of living was surpassing salaries. (Thomas 512) Worker control was destroying Catalonia, and it could not have survived in these conditions. The fact that roads and buildings were “in poor repair” (Orwell 6) proves that nobody would maintain the city without government orders.

                Hugh Thomas’ The Spanish Civil War analyzes the demise of the anarchists. People who felt threatened by the anarchists joined the communists (Thomas 628), who had been gaining more power in the government, due to the supplies received from the USSR. (Orwell 52-3) The anarchists themselves were deterring people from the revolution. Suspicion between the anarchists and communists culminated in the 1937 Barcelona “May Days”. (Thomas 635) Fighting began May 3rd, when communists tried to commandeer the Telefónica, and it spread to the streets. (Thomas 639) CNT leaders tried to stop the fighting, but had no influence over the workers. (Thomas 639-40) Clearly, the leaders had lost control of their own revolution, and instead of anarchy prospering, the workers were destroying themselves. Anarchist power disintegrated, and the people felt betrayed by the CNT for ordering a ceasefire. (Battle Ground for Idealists) The fighting ended May 8th, but anarchists had lost to the communists. (Thomas 643) The May Days showed that “there was a large gap between the anarchist ministers and the people on the street.” (Thomas 642-3) The anarchist leaders were too out of touch with the people.

Section E - Conclusion      

 In conclusion, the anarchist movement was not successful in Catalonia. The anarchists did not manage to create a society without authority. Because of the war, the anarchists worked with the government, which severely limited the extent of their collectivization. In the government the anarchists were phased out, as people favored the communists with their less extreme principles, and support from the Soviet Union. Even without a war, anarchy wouldn’t have survived. By 1937, the revolutionary excitement had vanished. The people must not have believed in the revolution, as class distinction reasserted its position over worker control.

                Their second aim was worker control over industry. Some 2,000 industries were collectivized, and in a few cases the workers did make improvements. However, huge economic failures, such as rampant inflation and run-down roads and buildings, overshadow any minor successes like the reduction of tram fares.

                Finally, the anarchists wanted to stop fascism. Instead of spreading the revolution, however, the anarchists fought with the communists, creating a civil war within a civil war. The failure of the anarchists in Barcelona represented the end of the anarchist revolution.

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