I'm also currently studying Edexcel AS History (Medieval and Tudor), so I'll give you the advice and structures I was given. It's helped push my mock grades up from a C to a strong A, so hopefully you'll find it helpful
First off, strip as much information out of the sources as physically possible. It sounds really simple, but you'll be surprised how basic information that can give you the extra marks can be lost. Best method I've found is OPVL:
Origin - What is it? When was it produced? Who produced it? Who was it produced for? (i.e. for letters, who was the letter written to?)
Purpose - What is the purpose of the source? Why was it produced? What information does it give us? Does it give us personal information, political information, social information, financial information etc etc?
Value - What can we learn from the source? How does it help us as historians? What valuable information does it give us?
Limitations - What do we not learn from the source? How does it hinder us as historians? How is it limited? (i.e. Is it biased? Does it only show one version of events? Is it only a small extract from a larger piece of writing?)
Do this to all 3 of the sources in turn, even something as simple as writing down all of this information on paper can really add some significant marks. Once this is down, start to compare and contrast in the following paragraphs:
Is there a common link between the sources that you can pick out? (For example, do they all talk about similar things? Do they talk about aspects of Churchill's character? Do they focus on the defeat? etc etc)
From this common link, can you spot any contrasts? (For example, does source 1 say he was fully responsible whereas source 2 say he was only partially responsible?)
Spend a couple of paragraphs or so comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between the three sources. If this question allows you to bring in your own knowledge, this would be the place to use it. Make a general statement of your point, reference information from the source (actually explicitly say "source a says...," this really drives home the point and makes it easier to follow, as well as showing where the source evidence is in your answer), then use your own knowledge of the situation to provide some deeper analysis.
If the question relies on sources ONLY, then you make a more specific statement and reference the sources a lot more explicitly and a lot more frequently, continuously showing where you get your information from. On the pure source answer, it will probably look like all you've done is copy and paste everything, but as long as you intersperse everything with what it is saying, what the meaning is, what the purpose is etc etc, then you're still along the right sort of lines.
At the end of the answer, do a conclusion that answers the question of how far you think Churchill was responsible in your own opinion. Bring in the basic ideas of some of the sources as a way to back up your opinion.
I find that this method has been absolutely invaluable when it comes to structuring essays, because where beforehand I just used to write everything that came into my head without any sort of flow, this not only forces me to structure what I'm writing, but also allows me to go over everything so that I'm picking up every mark possible.
I really hope this helps you out! If you want any questions answered, just give me a shout!
(Original post by Desertanium)
I am really struggling in writing and structuring my source based history essays. I am doing Unit 2 Edexcel AS, E5 British Political History, 1945–90: Consensus and Conflict.
I've been getting C's in my source based essays and I just do not know how to structure them.
For example, I am working on this essay:
How far do the sources suggest that Winston Churchill was responsible for the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1945 election?
Explain your answer, using evidence of sources 1, 2 and 3.
I have read and analyzed the sources in my head but I just don't know how to structure the source-based essays.
Could anyone help me step-by-step on how structure the source based essays? At least bring my answer to a Level 4?
Thanks and I really appreciate the help
I just need the exam technique to get my grade from a C to an A.