This rubric may help in preparing secondary sources. Ask these questions about the book, article, or other resource:
Knowledge: What information, data, and basic facts does the author present? What did you learn about the facts of the subject?
Interpretation: How does the author interpret the facts presented? Jacob Katz once defined “ideological history” as “confusing facts with the interpretation thereof.” It is important to note how the author interprets the relevant data. Even the choice of what types of knowledge are presented by the author can reflect his or her interpretation of the item under study. What assessments does the author make about the material? What opinions or conclusions does the author draw from the knowledge he or she as gathered?
Sources: In many cases, it is important to consider the sources used by the author—sometimes the type of sources influence the types of knowledge available or brought to bear on the subject, or determine the type of interpretation the author can make.
Significance: What significance does the author attach to this material, and what significance does it have for us in terms of enlarging our understanding of the material?
“Keep It Simple, Stupid”: Managing complexity is an important challenge. Try to keep your analysis simple and straightforward.