Analyzing Historical Documents in IB History Internal Assessments

Analyzing historical documents in IB History Internal Assessments is a critical component of understanding and interpreting historical events. Here are some strategies for effectively analyzing historical documents:

 1. Understanding the Historical Context:

1. Research the Time Period: Understand the historical context of the document by researching the time period, events, and key figures associated with it.

2. Analyze the Author's Background: Consider the author's background, beliefs, and biases. This can provide insight into their perspective and motivations.

3. Identify the Purpose of the Document: Determine the intended audience and purpose of the document. This can help you understand why the document was created and its significance.

 2. Assessing Reliability:

1. Cross-Referencing: Compare the document with other primary and secondary sources from the same time period. Look for corroborating or conflicting evidence.

2. Evaluating the Author's Bias: Consider the author's perspective and any potential biases that may affect the reliability of the document.

3. Consider the Content: Assess the content of the document for accuracy and credibility. Look for inconsistencies or inaccuracies.

 3. Analyzing Content:

1. Identify Key Points: Look for key points or arguments made in the document. This can help you understand the author's main ideas.

2. Analyze Language and Tone: Consider the language and tone used in the document. Look for persuasive techniques or emotional appeals.

3. Examine Visual Elements: If the document contains visual elements such as images or charts, analyze these for additional information.

 4. Interpreting the Document:

1. Evaluate the Author's Intent: Consider the author's intent and how this may have influenced the content of the document.

2. Consider Multiple Perspectives: Think about how different individuals or groups may have interpreted the document.

3. Relate to Historical Context: Relate the content of the document to the broader historical context. Consider how it fits into the larger narrative of the time period.

 5. Drawing Conclusions:

1. Synthesize Information: Bring together the information from the document and other sources to form a comprehensive understanding.

2. Formulate Hypotheses: Use the information from the document to formulate hypotheses or theories about the historical event or topic.

3. Evaluate the Document's Significance: Assess the significance of the document in relation to the broader historical narrative. Consider how it contributes to our understanding of the topic.


Analyzing historical documents in IB History Internal Assessments requires a careful and critical approach. By following these strategies, you can effectively evaluate the reliability, content, and significance of historical documents and gain a deeper understanding of historical events.