This component of the IA mirrors the 3rd question on Paper 1, so if you understand one, you’ll understand both.  You are supposed to choose 2 sources significant to your study and evaluate them using the 4 criteria: origins, purpose value and limitations.  You are not supposed to compare these sources or focus too much on their content – instead, the information should come largely from the provenance and purpose of the sources.  Treat these sources as discrete (separate and individual) entities.  You can compare them in the analysis section if it is important.  Since they are important in your estimation, these sources probably should be referenced in sections B and/or D.

Here is a brief rundown of what you need to include:

Origins and purpose: What the source is (ex: text, speech, video, book), when it was produced, and by whom; and why it was produced.  Sometimes there is a public reason and a private reason – explain this if necessary.  These concepts can often be combined into 1 sentence.

Example: Dizzy with success was an article published in Pravda written by Josef Stalin in March 1930 to urge a temporary halt to collectivization in the Soviet Union.

Value and Limitations: The emanate from the origins and purpose, which is why O + P are so important.  The date a source was produced explains context; the place of publication can also help. – especially if it was produced in an authoritarian regime where information was tightly controlled.

Value: Why a historian studying the subject finds it useful.  Primary and secondary sources are equally useful, but for different reasons.  A primary source is a record from the time that gives an indication of how the situation was perceived at the time.  A secondary source is an analytical work that usually involves compiling a lot of information, including multiple primary and secondary sources to evaluate a topic.

Limitations: Issues that historians must consider when choosing to use a source.  This will vary tremendously, depending on the type of source.  A speech by Adolf Hitler on the supremacy of the German people is limited because it was meant to incite and was not based on fact.  This does not mean that the source is useless, but that it must be put in the context of when it was delivered.

Students often cite’ bias’ as a limitation of a source, and while this is correct, it is an undeveloped thought.  The bias of the author must be explained for this to be a creditable reason.

Historians make these types of judgment calls all the time, and they do it very quickly.  It takes a long time to understand these concepts, but once you do, you will have a very real and important historical skill.