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Answering S ource- B ased Q uestions. Basic Requirements. Analyse the questions and determine the target skills Determine the core skills required (CR, CK) Note : Support for an inference/identified issue/CR must come immediately after statement. Inference Questions.

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Answering S ource- B ased Q uestions

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basic requirements
Basic Requirements
  • Analyse the questions and determine the target skills
  • Determine the core skills required (CR, CK)

Note: Support for an inference/identified issue/CR must come immediately after statement

inference questions
Inference Questions

Typical Question Format

  • What does the source tell you about (topic/issue)?Infer message
  • What is the cartoonist’s/writer’s opinion in drawing/writing (source)?Infer opinion - support/ dn support
  • Why did (who e.g. cartoonist/writer) produce (source)?Inferpurpose
inference questions1
Inference Questions

Infer (about topic/issue)

2 inferences

  • Support from source

b. Explain if necessary

inference questions2
Inference Questions

Infer (about purpose PAMI)

Provenance (who)- Identify the motive of individual

Audience (message intended for)

Message (what is the message about) support from source; keep in mind the message may be opinionated

Intended outcome Intended (re-) action from target audience

inference question
Inference Question

Format for dealing with purpose

“The purpose of this source is to show (an issue/ message) so that people will do (an action)”

 Check to ensure you’ve linked back to answer the topic stated in question

comparison skills

How similar/different is (a source) from (another source)?

How similar/ different are the 2 sources…?

How far does (a source) support (another source)?


How are the 2 sources similar/ different in telling you about…?

In what ways are the 2 sources similar/different about (an issue)?

Comparison Skills
comparison skills1
Comparison Skills

Initial Response:

Study sources to mark out what each source is saying

Identify matches (both similarities and differences) in ‘drafts’, in terms of

Provenance, Content, Tone, Purpose








comparison skills2
Comparison Skills




Yes, the sources are similar about (an issue)

Sc A says (support) & (explain), and Sc B says (support) & (explain).

Thus the sources are similar or support/ confirm/ concurs with one another

The sources are different in what they say about (another issue).

Sc A says (support) & (explain), but Sc B contradicts Sc A by saying (support) & (explain).

Thus the sources differ/ do not support each other

Compare purpose, if applicable… (remember PAMI)


Typical Question Format

  • How useful is this source in telling you about (an issue)?
  • How useful is this source in helping you to understand (an event/topic)?

Initial Response

  • Analyse the topic first, think of answers to (topic/event)
  • Look at source and pick out the information that checks/does not check with source
  • Answer the question

Answer Format




Yes, Sc A is useful bec of what it says about (an issue). I know from… (CR to other sc or CK- specific details)

  • Sc A is limited bec 
  • Missing information (on issue) – be specific on what’s missing either CR to other sources or CK
  • Fallacy? Or other anomaly… Explain…

Enhanced usefulness:

Purpose  discuss using PAMI  reliability affected  >/< useful.



  • “less reliable” source can still be useful to one’s understanding of an issue/topic
  • eg although the source’s reliability is limited, it is still useful in showing us that there were opposition to the Tsar’s rule in just before the Feb Revolution

Typical Question Format

· Does the source prove (success/failure etc) about (a topic)?

· Do you believe what the source says about (an issue)?

  • How reliable/credible/right/wrong is the source in telling me about (an issue)?

Initial Response:

  • Again, briefly list what you know about topic before analysing the source
  • Check knowledge against the source. Reliable (checks)/ not reliable (conflicts)
  • Write answer- remember to answer the question directly
  • Note:Test the reliability of the source based on what it says, not what it doesn’t say




Yes, I believe the sc/ the sc is reliable about (issue)

Sc A says (evidence) & by CR to Sc B / CK which states (specific evidence) & (explain to link to issue), Sc B confirms that Sc A is reliable about (issue)

Sc A is not reliable / is not true about (issue), because Sc A says (evidence) & (explain) but Sc B says (contradicting info) OR I know that (CK). Thus, ….

Test for Purpose (PAMI)

Note: Missing info may be mentioned here  to mislead audience/ exaggerate  making source more/ less reliable about (issue)

general pointers
General Pointers
  • React logically to the question- identify the anomaly (if there is one)
  • Make a stand (with support of course)
  • Plan your answer (within 1/2 a min)
  • Start each sub-question (1a, 1b etc) on a fresh page
  • Leave a line after each paragraph written
  • Make sure you have understood the source well before you begin writing- do not quote out of context or misinterpret the source!