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George Mason University Personal Mission Statement Essay

George Mason University Personal Mission Statement Essay


1- here explain to the questions and the steps to do it : “Defining Primary and Secondary Source Documents” HIST 100

My copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary includes the following definition of the word “history”: “a) what has happened in the life or development of a people, country, institution, etc. b) a systematic account of this, usually inchronological order with an analysis and explanation.”1 It is safe to assume that nearly every kind of “history” you have encountered conforms in some way to this definition.

One of the questions I want you to consider over the course of the semester is this: How do historians construct accounts of the past? In other words, from where do they obtain the information needed to tell such histories, and how do they know the information is valid?

Historians gather this information from mainly two kinds of sources: primary and secondary sources. Primary source material originates from the time period that is being examined and/or questioned. Some people call them original sources. Primary sources include letters, diaries, telegrams, movies, interviews, and memos. They may also be things that were not written or do not use the spoken word, such as photographs, old garments, architecture, archaeological curios, artifacts, sculpture, and paintings. By contrast, secondary sources are typically removed from the time period that being examined and/or questioned, and draw

1 Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 2nd edition (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980), 665.


upon primary sources to reconstruct and analyze past events (secondary sources also draw upon other secondary sources to create accounts of the past). Secondary sources include books and textbooks on history, dictionary and encyclopedia entries, scholarly journal articles, and articles in magazines and newspapers.

During the semester, we will be exploring various primary and secondary source documents. I would like you to think about the historical value of each document and source. Sometimes, we will discuss them on the Blackboard discussion board forum. Other times, you might want to include a discussion of them in a quiz, paper, assignment, or exam. Importantly, it is one of the learning objectives of the course that you understand the difference between a primary source and a secondary source, are able to determine the historical value of both types, and critically analyze primary and secondary sources so that you can formulate a credible and substantiated argument about the past.

2- here the question:

A researcher at the local university would like to learn more about the ancient Olympic Games. She is hoping to build on her knowledge of the Games, all of which has been gleaned through watching documentaries and reading scholarly articles, textbooks, and magazine and newspaper articles on the ancient Olympics.

Recently, she was given an opportunity to accompany a colleague to Olympia, site of the ancient Games, so that she could assist him in his research of an ancient Olympic event called “pankration.” While in Olympia, both scholars, in addition to researching the ruins that still exist at the ancient site, plan to research an extensive collection of ancient Olympic artifacts, including Grecian urns (with images of athletes and athletic events painted on the sides), paintings, pottery, statuary, frescoes, athletic events, monuments, and records and accounts of past Games.

In the grant application she wrote to fund her trip to Olympia, she was asked to provide an explanation of the kind of sources she hoped to research, particularly whether they were primary or secondary sources. She was also asked in the same section to explain (briefly) how she acquired her knowledge of the ancient Olympics, and whether it came from primary or secondary sources.

If you were a colleague of the researcher, what would you advise her to write in the grant application?

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