Here’s a visual representation of the required elements of a critical analysis, as applied to primary sources in Ancient History. I call it my Analysis Wheel.
There’s nothing new here, or surprising: if you’ve done a critical analysis before you’ll already know all of this! But sometimes seeing it set out in a different way can help.
The central elements of the ‘wheel’ are necessary, whatever source you’re analysing. Their relative weighting will depend on the source: for some sources there won’t be much to say about context, for instance, if not much is known about where the source came from.
The boxes around the edge show the sort of questions you might want to answer in each section, and give some ideas about where you should draw evidence from. They’re not exhaustive; they’re just meant as prompts!
I hope you find the Wheel useful, as a reminder and as a checklist to make sure you’ve included all the necessary elements. Make it into a T-shirt if you really like it…!