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This is because it creates a number of traps – forcing you to simplify the discussion into two sides when it’s probably much more complex, and making it all too easy to avoid actually having an argument of your own until the closing sentences. There is no person, no document (no historical witness or source) that is not biased in some way or another. The problem here is that labelling a source as biased sounds like you’ve actually said something when you haven’t, making it all too easy to move on to the next point without actually having made one at all. How we interpret, explain and debate the cause, impact and meaning of what happened is History (the scholarly discipline).
Instead, identify the perspective from which a source is written, or from which they see events. This wouldn’t be possible if all historians agreed, so there is some sense in distinguishing between the ideas and opinions of and others.
There is a simple way to structure an essay: argument, counter-argument, conclusion. This is often a shock to those students who’ve had it drummed into them at A-Level. It’s actually a straightforward way of producing an acceptable essay.
What is perhaps less well-known is how these diagrams came about.This is one that gets used endlessly in student essays, and it’s hard to blame them when it’s used so frequently in academic texts. One of the things students find hardest to master is acknowledging complexity while still putting forward a strong argument. starting a sentence by sitting on the fence like this is a bad habit to get into, as you can easily find yourself opting for this over and over, and miss the fact you haven’t actually argued anything.If you’re not convinced, attribute it to someone who is.Labelling the premise of the historian’s assumptions should be a helpful way of engaging with their perspective on the past, but instead is often used to dismiss alternative interpretations rashly.Most typically I see this dismissal – sometimes this bluntly – to reject the arguments of feminist historians.