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Good Day

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AS History: Enquiry Paper Guidance

Question (a) – The Comparison.

In question (a) the focus is on the direct comparison of two sources. Without explicit comparison candidates will not get above Band IV. A substantial number of candidates still adopt a sequential approach, and others limit themselves to a low Band III by confining their comparisons to a brief conclusion after a sequential analysis of the two Sources. A continuously comparative approach is required. Candidates should, however, not assume that a comparison is established simply by the introduction of comparative words and phrases such as ‘whereas’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘by contrast’, or by setting points from the Sources alongside each other. Similarity or difference of content has to be demonstrated in relation to a point which is genuinely comparable, either because both Sources refer to it or because one draws attention to it but the other ignores it. Likewise comparison of qualities other than content requires assessment of the same qualities in both Sources. Another common weakness is a failure to realise that comparisons are only relevant if they relate to the issue raised in the question.

* Sequencing is a major problem. There is a reluctance to select issues and themes from the two Sources and build the comparison around these. Many candidates, often able, prefer paraphrase. Two separate accounts are provided with perhaps a final paragraph making a few belated comparisons. * Not focusing on content is a weakness for many, especially the more able who have been well trained in the consideration of provenance as a means of comparing, and thus focus too exclusively on this single aspect. Comparison of content is the foundation for a good answer and should be carried out with precision. Candidates are inclined to provide a general comparison of the two Sources rather than a comparison focussing on the issue specified in the question. The point of comparing provenance, dating, utility etc. is to evaluate the Sources as evidence about that issue. * Paraphrasing is often the bedfellow of sequencing. Candidates relax, seemingly secure that they are discussing their stated Source. Sometimes these can be in the form of a concise or even explanatory gloss, but any comparison can only be implicit at best. One is lucky if, in doing this, they absorb content and feel emboldened to include a final conclusion in the form of a comparison. * A major weakness is to take the Sources as evidence for a general theme or the ones suggested in (b), missing the key issue specified in (a) - as evidence for what? Candidates would benefit from highlighting the key issue that follows the instruction ‘compare as evidence for’. Identifying this should provide the means of extracting and organising the appropriate information from both Sources. All too frequently, the comparison is not focused on the issues raised by the question and, instead, a mere general comparison is provided. * Evaluation of provenance is an important part of any answer, but ideally should

(i) not be tagged on or separated out in another paragraph. It should arise naturally as each issue is identified and the Sources compared for their approach to it.
(ii) should not be too exclusively dwelt upon at the expense of content or possibly context. Candidates need to realise that provenance can condition content. An answer that integrates both is the ideal.
(iii) should not, as many weaker and middling candidates often do, merely state the provenance, sometimes in a way that invites obvious evaluation but then goes nowhere. The comment is left to stand alone. For example, ‘Source B originates from a manifesto of the Kentish rebels in May 1648 and Source C comes from the inhabitants of Dorset. Source C is the Declaration of the County of Dorset on 15 June 1648.’ One is tempted to comment…so?

* There is often too much simplistic use of evaluative language: ‘bias’, ‘primary’, ‘secondary’ etc. This leads to a considerable amount of ‘stock’ evaluation, rendering a comparison worthless. The use of a modern historian in the Sources seems particularly to invite this. If only candidates could be tempted to say why one sounds better or is slanted then they would be in business. It is what is said, the audience, the date, the tone etc. that enables candidates to compare effectively. An integration of content and context that assesses how far a Source is useful as evidence, should be the ideal. * Putting too much stress on just one quality or an inappropriate one. Such qualities are spelt out in the generic mark bands. Many candidates prefer to assess reliability, but it may only be part of it. In many respects, ‘as evidence for’ denotes usefulness.

Whilst candidates might expect to find diametrically opposed Sources, this is rarely the case.

There will be middle ground, perhaps complete agreement but form unexpected angles. Candidates should not have preconceived ideas here. They need to be flexible in their approach. They should also be reminded that use of own knowledge is not required in (a) and can in fact seriously divert a candidate from the actual question set.

* A failure to match the information accurately between two sources – because candidates generalise rather than identify specific phrases or words they make many conceptual slips and miss obvious points.

* If the sources talk of different things with a common route then they need to say so. * If the source content is largely similar then again, say so. At this point candidates should look into the provenance to explain similarity or difference. That is where a candidate just looking at provenance, or just content, will seriously skew their response.

* A judgement is expected for Bands I and II. Many candidates simply make no attempt to do this. Other candidates produce, out of a hat, a judgement at the end, frequently unsupported by what has gone before. Often both sources will provide useful evidence for and against or will corroborate to some extent the evidence of one or the other. In some cases candidates need to spot that they may be talking of different things. If this is the case, or they are of equal value, candidates need to say so but always give their reason for so doing (a good class exercise). A summative comment, linked to the points already made about content and provenance, does help.

* Use of own knowledge in part (a) is not a requirement, not necessary and certainly not advised. Quite a few candidates do this and it invariably clutters their response and obscures comparison. It can, and should, be used for ‘light’ context and provenance and to spot relevance (talking of a particular event rather than a more general point). It is for ‘location’ of a source only.

Sub-Question (b) – Testing an assertion using the sources and own knowledge.

The focus in this part is on judgement in context, based on the set of sources and own knowledge. This is a demanding exercise requiring a number of skills. Note that both source analysis and own knowledge are required. Candidates should be aware that the absence or minimal use of either will lead directly to Band IV because of clear imbalance. Only in rare instances of exceptionally good source analysis may answers which display such imbalance be awarded Band III. Use of own knowledge is often poor. Too often it is generalised and lacks supporting detail. Equally it is often not linked with source analysis but ‘bolted on’.

This latter fault often arises from a formulaic approach to the question: a sequential discussion of the Sources followed by a section of own knowledge. This inhibits the development of a coherent and focussed argument. While there is no one formula which fits all questions, a more appropriate general rule for candidates is to think in terms of argument and counter-argument. They should consider the evidence to support the view offered in the question and then the evidence which supports an alternative argument (or arguments). Such evidence should come primarily from analysis of the sources since this is a source based paper. Own knowledge should be integrated with source analysis and used to substantiate, qualify or add to the evidence derived from the sources. Such an approach requires grouping and cross-referencing of sources, whereas the sequential approach treats them in isolation.

What follows are the most common mistakes candidates make.

* Achieving a balance between the use and analysis of Sources and own knowledge remains a challenge for most. Many separate it out but amongst answers in the middle and top Bands there is an effective integration of both. The ideal is to incorporate relevant Source content, grouped, into an argument which is extended and developed by source evaluation and extra content provided by own knowledge. This then builds into an analysis of the question via issues and key points that aggregate all the skills, including own knowledge. To proceed in a mechanistic or formulaic manner is to limit scope and encourage poor argumentative skills – at worst the paraphrasing of Source content, perhaps a brief paragraph or sentence evaluating one or at best two Sources, own knowledge dumped at random at the end and finally an uncertain conclusion or judgement that betrays the first moment a candidate has considered the question itself.

* Many candidates who achieve middling and low Bands make only token use of Sources via brief referencing. Centres and candidates need to pay particular attention to this as more marks are lost here than anywhere else depressing many results by at least a grade. The argument, largely knowledge based (and frequently general, vaguely contextual and lightweight), makes merely a glancing reference to 4 or 5 Sources, frequently by quoting a word or phrase (or even just by number – A or B etc.) to make a point and then say ‘as is shown in Source B’. Such an approach is tokenism with Sources being used as an indiscriminate mine for a conventional essay. Those with weak knowledge will plunder the Sources for content, ignoring their evaluation. Those with knowledge will tick off the Sources in a paragraph, again ignoring analysis, and then proceed to use their own information to answer the question. It is vital to look at what the generic mark scheme requires:

Band I - analysis of all 5 Sources (limits, completeness etc)
Band II - analysis of at least 4 Sources
Band III - attempts to address the Sources, comment not sustained
Band IV - imbalance; Sources discussed sequentially
Band V - limited attempt to analyse sources
Band VI - serious weaknesses in handling sources
Band VII - extremely serious weaknesses in handling sources

* Sequencing can and usually will hinder an analysis based around the consideration of an assertion. The tendency is to just summarise each Source in turn, losing sight of the question. Candidates should group Sources according to internally conflicting evidence (the same Source can frequently contribute to conflicting views). A sequenced approach may well result in Band IV, whilst a grouped set will already be demonstrating evaluation and analysis. Some able candidates deal with the argument for, followed by the argument against, and then finish with a conclusion. Such an approach runs the mechanistic risk of avoiding judgement. A much better line to take is the incorporation of pros and cons that arise from the grouping of Sources i.e. that the thrust of A and C clearly argue for the assertion but the text or tone of A could be read as providing evidence against. Here a candidate can build in evaluation naturally and historically.

* Some candidates discuss only the proposition in the question. Questions generally require discussion of alternative explanations or judgements and assertions for which evidence is usually provided in at least one of the Sources (if a modern historian is included it is often there to provide ‘other’ factors). In questions which ask whether ‘Z’ was the main cause, this is a clear invitation to consider other issues.

* Picking up on conditioning words in questions. This follows on from the previous point. Questions often contain words or phrases such as: ‘main’, ‘only’, ‘severely limited’, ‘most’, ‘reason’, ‘cause’, ‘more’, ‘entirely’, ‘essential’. Candidates ignore them at their peril. A highlighter could be useful here, although we ourselves have already highlighted many as an indication of importance.

* As a consequence of the above, candidates frequently fail to reach a judgement about the relative importance of the explanation offered in the question. Our own highlighting is a clue to what we expect. A question that begins with a phrase like ‘assess the claim that…’ requires consideration of evidence for and against.

How to put the above advice into practice.

General Points

Many candidates, at all levels, continue to sequence their treatment of the Sources in Q(b), ticking them off through token reference (lifting a sentence or just using the attribution) with no evaluation or analysis at all. This prevents judgement and a balanced argument and some simple grouping around the key issue would help candidates to do this. The following are two paragraphs which demonstrate how to do this.

An answer on the Crusades –

“Three of the Sources are from Churchmen who might be expected, given their context, (Pope Gregory’s appeal and Urban’s sermon urging of a crusade, Raymond of Aguilers’ celebration of the capture of Jerusalem), to stress religious inspiration at the expense of more mundane factors. The unknown author of the Deeds of the Franks, whilst similarly stressing the primacy of religious feeling (the Holy Cross), perhaps unwittingly regards booty as one of God’s rewards. One of Urban’s arguments is similarly secular.”

An answer on Nazi Germany –

“All the sources here, with the possible exception of ‘A’ are non Nazis, three observing in retrospect the political situation in early 1933. Sources ‘A’ and ‘D’, both consciously written as history in the 1990s, stress Hitler’s popular strength (mass support and the role of the SA) from which he could exploit high politics, but ‘D’ alongside ‘B’, are keen to stress that the Conservatives appeared to best exploit the situation in January, ‘hiring’ Hitler and surrounding him with traditional right wingers. ‘C’, a frank report to the leadership of the SPD and Trade Unions, key opponents of the Nazis, instead of moving to exploit the crisis confess their weakness and support ‘A’ and ‘D’ on the Nazi ability to master the situation. Apart from ‘B’ the sources, one contemporary, the other two from hindsight, agree with the assertion of Nazi ability to use the early 1933 situation to their advantage.”

These are just two examples of possible approaches that comment on the sources as a set, tie them to the key issue (religious inspiration as the key motive in the crusades; did the Nazis rather than any other group best exploit the situation in early 1933?) and attempt grouping on a variety of levels. Each could form the beginning of a developmental paragraph or could be an introduction. Both are better than a ‘one by one’ approach which loses sight of the key issue in the Question.

Too many candidates do not make proper use of the sources, the source being merely referred to, en passant, in a token manner (by number or phrase).Examples of such unsophisticated comments are:-

“As it says in Source C” (left simply as that)
“As it is shown in Source D” (but never demonstrated)
“B clearly states” (followed by paraphrase)
“As mentioned in Source A”.

Sources are often plundered for content and used primarily for reference or illustration.

Sources must be analysed and evaluated. Examiners estimate that the majority of the answers they see are guilty of not doing this, making it very difficult for candidates to gain Bands I and II. They are required to consider what the sources tell us when used as evidence for or against the proposition in the question; what they say is conditioned by their stance and their circumstances. Grouping analytical observations (see above) and spotting contradictory sections in the same source are all ways in which evaluation can be achieved. This is infinitely preferable to the stock evaluation of sequenced sources which rarely adds anything to the key issue. Grouping by reliability could be an effective approach to the question. Even if candidates are made aware of the need to evaluate sources they often do so in a way that does not relate to the question. They insert standard taught comments, as instructed, that sit uncomfortably within an argument. Evaluation of provenance etc. should only be included in so far as comments relate to the key issue. They should not be included just for the sake of it.

Specific Guidance

The three main pitfalls are organisational (“grouping” and what then follows), evaluative (the failure to use the source for anything other than a reference bank of information) and the failure to use much own knowledge or to integrate it. If candidates can achieve the former then they go a long way towards being enabled to do the two latter. Sources are insufficiently used in an evaluative manner and this prevents many candidates achieving Bands I and II. We are disappointed that we rarely see a script that combines a focused use of the sources ‘as evidence’, whose limitations are discussed, which also manages to integrate sources and own knowledge to produce an essay based on both.

1)Organisational Issues.

Specific advice has been given on initial ‘grouping’ above. However, on its own, in an introduction, the initial grouping is not enough. As a stand-alone introduction it doesn’t rate that highly in evaluative terms. There must be more than just a statement that, ‘Sources A, B and D show that Hitler’s unpopularity was growing’, followed by a description of the content of each. We suggest grouping as a key to unlock evaluation. Candidates must then go beyond this and follow its suggested structure throughout the answer. This can take the form of three sources v two or it could be that the sources suggest a variety of hypothesis. What follows are three examples with an introductory grouping and a suggested ‘follow on’.

Assess the view that Hitler’s popularity was seriously damaged by the effects of war.
Assessing Hitler’s popularity during the war years is problematic. The sources approach the issue from very different angles. Superficially A, B and D would, given their dating throughout the war (1942, 1943 and 1944), suggest serious damage, culminating in failed assassination in the July Bomb Plot of 1944. However, Bielenberg in C would suggest the German people were more united because of war. This may call into question serious wartime damage to Hitler’s popularity. However she does not mention Hitler or his role in it. There is the implicit suggestion that the type of Volksgemeinschaft or German unity involved here, a siege mentality based on survival regardless of ‘politics and belief’, are not the type Hitler had in mind. Three sources (A, C and D) come from Nazi opponents but there is little to doubt the sincerity of their comments. Even ‘B’, a Nazi Gauleiter Report, is honest in its comments on both party officials and public opinion. Hans and Sophie Scholl in ‘A’ and Treschow in ‘D’ however speak form minority viewpoints, some university students and a section of the junker-based officer class, both active or involved in opposition before 1939. One would expect them both to see the war as Hitler’s destiny and the source of his downfall. Both seek to rescue the German people form the consequences of this. In contrast sources B and C, the Gauleiter and Bielenberg, are more effective accounts of war and its impact on Hitler and popular opinion.

This can then be developed. Various groupings have been established above, each one providing plenty of opportunity and structure to develop a focused answer that evaluates the sources and allows opportunities for own knowledge. There is A, B and D (serious damage) versus C (German Unity). Another option is one based on provenance – A, C and D (Nazi opponents) versus B (Gauleiter report), ‘B’ being used to add weight to the evidence of the other three for ‘damage’. A third possibility is A and D (untypical minority opinion) v. B and C (public opinion), the latter, a majority, showing some, but not serious, damage (thereby tackling the ‘seriously damaged’ aspect of the question which careful readers should have highlighted). Own knowledge could further develop the ‘minority’ status of the Scholls (A) and Tresckow (D) citing army plotting and its fate before and during the war, Junker attitudes to Hitler, the fate of the White Rose and the execution of the Scholls just after the leaflet in A, (although opposition continued through other small groups – the Pirates and the Kreisau Circle). All this would point to minority status. Then candidates could turn to examining the differences between the evidence of B and C on Hitler’s popularity, perhaps with comment on Hitler’s ‘disappearance’ from public life to the Wolfe’s lair in East Prussia, the effectiveness of Germany’s Total War policies (Goebbel’s 1943 speech) in relation to the evidence of ‘B’, the impact of propaganda admitted to by ‘A’- the German people ‘blindly follow their leader to ruin’ – and the fight to the end in Berlin. The Werewolves could be contrasted to the Scholls to suggest that the cult of Hitler remained to the end.

Assess the view that Luther’s critics in the Catholic Church were mostly responsible for the failure to reach a settlement by 1521.
On the surface the sources do not provide a very balanced view of whose responsibility it was for the failure to reach a settlement between 1518 and 1521. Sources A and C are Luther himself, seeking to portray the Church’s representatives as at fault rather than himself, to the two key authorities of the time, Pope and Emperor. Erasmus in D, a supporter of Humanist reform who remained Catholic and who writes a couple of years later from the vantage of a little hindsight, certainly sides with Luther as to unwise Church action against him. Contarini, the Venetian Ambassador at Worms in ‘B’, alone reports on Luther’s failure to ‘give ground’, implying that such a stance could be taken with impunity given princely and printing press support. However, the two Lutheran extracts demonstrate that Contarini’s allegations had considerable truth. Luther’s extract in A is from ‘On the Liberty of a Christian Man’, part of a series of books and pamphlets written to target key audiences, princely, ecclesiastical, intellectual and national. Together they provide a coherent message of reform unacceptable to the Pope and although ‘On the Liberty’ was dedicated to him its content here attacks his choice of representative, Cajetan, in very impolitic language and even pretends to know his orders. In C Luther unequivocally states ‘sola scriptura’, thereby openly attacking papal supremacy. This might suggest that Luther, rather than his Church critics, was mostly responsible for the failure to reach a settlement.

Two groupings have been opened up here, although the answer’s slant suggests one is more persuasive than the other. Both provide a structure that will encourage evaluation and the use of own knowledge. One grouping is A, C and D (Luther and Erasmus putting the blame on the Church, Luther focusing on Cajetan with Erasmus focusing on Leo X’s ‘horrible’ Bulls) versus B (Contarini who sees a defiant Luther). This could be extended by comparing Cajetan at Augsburg in A with Eck at Leipzig, perhaps arguing that the Church merely wished to shut Luther up or trap him into historical Hussite heresy. Further comment on Luther’s original intention in 1517 and how the Church handled him could set A, C and D into perspective. Another grouping would be A, C and B (Luther and Contarini) where Luther is clearly undiplomatic and assertive of sola scriptura versus D (Erasmus) who blames a Church that did not want to debate ‘truth’. This might involve linking B and C, both relating to events at Worms, both pointing to agreement on Luther’s failure to give ground. Own knowledge might support this with reference to the politics of Worms but could also qualify it given the Church’s failure to give ground. Erasmus in D could be questioned. He is clearly concerned with Humanist writing, the need for light censorship and truth. Here the Church was the enemy and his comments reflect this. Another possible route could be to examine Luther’s progress between 1518 and 1521, allowing own knowledge to fill in gaps (1517, Leipzig 1519, the Papal Bulls etc.) and condition the Sources which relate to Augsburg and Worms. The focus needs to be on Luther’s developing theology and the Church’s approach to it.

Assess the view that the First Crusade succeeded more through popular enthusiasm than through decisive leadership.

There is plenty of evidence for popular enthusiasm as the key to success in all the Sources. Much is said about ‘martyrdom, marvellous deeds and religious inspiration.’ Much less is said directly of decisive leadership, although its lack pervades B and D. Three of the sources are from accounts of those who went on the Crusade but Fulcher in C and Guibert of Nogent (D) in a near contemporary history refer generally to success achieved by enthusiasm rather than leadership perhaps because this was the climax of their respective ‘Histories’. Thus A, C and D all focus on religiously inspired popular enthusiasm as the key, D referring to ‘those without a Lord’. Only B stresses the importance of leadership through its account of a leadership quarrel over Antioch that delayed the march to Jerusalem, thus implying its importance. Yet, popular pressure, according to B, Raymond of Aguilers, forced a settlement on reluctant leaders. However, A, B and D all suggest that leadership of some sort was important, if not decisive, for success. Raymond of Aguilers in B, a pro Raymond of Toulouse source, clearly observes that the ‘people’ did not just threaten to set out alone but felt the need to select a knight as leader. In A Fulcher of Chartres refers to several battles, the very nature of which would require leadership. The whole thrust of his comments are designed to secure papal leadership for the final march on Jerusalem. In D Guibert of Nogent clearly refers to ‘past battles and great military enterprise’ all of which would require conventional leadership. There are clear references to ‘knights’. Only the extract from Fulcher in C refers to heroic martyrdom and the deeds of God and this might be an untypical extract if it is from a general historical climax where the convention was to assign equality before God whose divine hand was clearly given the credit for such Christian success.

Again, two groupings are suggested here which can form an appropriate structure. Sources A, C and D (popular enthusiasm) versus Source B (the impact of leadership). These can be developed in relationship to provenance – Fulcher’s stress on martyrs and pilgrims and Guibert’s sense of Christian history which seems to deny any factor centred around ambition, money and lands despite their mention. Their accuracy could be questioned, especially when ‘B’ reveals a very partisan leadership dispute (in which he himself must have been involved). Popular enthusiasm is stressed, even in B. The examples of decisive leadership are missing and could easily be provided by own knowledge. A consideration of the People’s Crusade, for example, could point to the problems when leadership was lacking. Popular levels of uptake could be considered. Another grouping could be based around comments in A, B and D which may be used to suggest the importance of leadership. Own knowledge could easily be used to strengthen these, especially as leaders are mentioned in D (Raymond, Bohemond and Godfrey). By stressing the potential untypicality of C and D and using the hints in A, B and D a good case could be made for decisive leadership if one wanted to .There are also hints which should lead candidates to consider other reasons for success, notably in C – ‘… we were surrounded by many powerful enemies.’ This could easily be challenged by stressing Muslim division as the key to success, developed by own knowledge.

2) Evaluation of the sources

This is crucial to the higher grades in part (b). The majority of candidates use the sources for information and make fairly token references to them, either very generally or by quoting or paraphrasing them. This confines them to Band III and below. Some do try with a ‘bolt-on’ paragraph that impedes the argument and, in itself, does nothing to contribute to it. Others tend to evaluate just one of a set of sources identified as important to their argument whilst ignoring the others. This weakens the power of grouping. As is demonstrated in the three examples evaluation will follow naturally from a grouping and its structure for the answer. Candidates need to see how provenance, reliability and all the rest flows automatically from this and it will be considered lightly, naturally and as a matter of course. It will contribute to ongoing judgement. Many seem unaware that the sources can give evidence for different arguments. Only a few are prepared to recognise the different interpretations that a single source can lend itself to. Many neglect context which can be vital, e.g. in a Nazi question the White Rose are about to be eliminated; in an American Civil War question, the tone is conditioned by the fact that the character was speaking on the eve of secession.

* Evaluation always relates to the question asked. Sources and knowledge should be discussed in relation to that. Many candidates are less than successful here and even quite able ones miss key concepts or phrases in the question, e.g. ‘seriously damaged’. It is always wise to encourage your candidates to use a question’s key words in their answer. * When evaluating it is important to consider very carefully what is said in the sources. Many candidates misinterpret or read into a source what they would like to see there even when it comes to provenance. They are unable to spot subtle distinctions and this limits their appreciation of how they can contribute to different interpretations and impedes evaluation as they fall back on the ‘stock’ approach so often seen in Q (a). Question (b) is about argument and evaluation and many candidates divert to referencing by their use of language (C says; B states etc.). If they were to use the word ‘argue’ then it may lead them back on track, forcing them to see they are talking of arguments and interpretations that are open to question and that sources need to be assigned value and significance.

3) The use and integration of own knowledge

This is often very weak. Candidates too often seem to know little and certainly find it difficult to know how to deploy own knowledge other than as a separate ‘bolt-on’. It is very limited, not appropriate, diverts the candidate from the question or is simply too vague, generic or even inaccurate. Instead of independent own knowledge candidates use the sources as the exclusive mine of information. What passes for own knowledge is generic material gleaned from the sources. As is made clear above, own knowledge is to be used to extend or qualify the points made by the sources in relation to the questions. It can provide key alternative explanations when necessary and provide the framework or grouping upon which to hang the sources and their evaluation. It should be integrated. The ‘follow-on’ exemplars given under ‘grouping’ show how this can be done.

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