Would really appreciate advice!
Don't worry - you;re not alone.
We get an awful lot of these questions - it would be well worth your while searching the archive.
As for help, we have to be very careful, because if we give you too much - and you don't declare it - you can be found guilty of cheating and disqualified.
So we usually restrict ourselves to general advice only.
I'm just not sure if i am structuring the question in the right way and what i am meant to do with it (i.e. use primary sources to support the historical arguments...but how far do i evaluate these, do i evaluate every primary source i use, is it ok just to use own evidence and not a primary source to back up an argument?)
So what 'general advice' would I give.
Firstly, and this is a 'must', go onto your Exam Board's website and track down the relevant markscheme. If you find you're having any trouble with this, get back to us with details of Board, Exam etc. and we'll see if we can do any better.
Some of the Boards have really excellent specimen markschemes available which make it clear, not only where the marks come from, but about the kind of level of factual detail you will need to demonstrate.
The answer to your question about what you do in your essay lies there - you do the things they say you have to do to get the marks.
Secondly, most of these markschemes boil down to the fact that you have to answer the question.
(Now this is where I must go careful)
The correct advice for most markschemes will be to concentrate on the question first.
First, start by selecting the correct essay structure to suit the question (so, for instance, the easiest kind of question is a 'how far' question, for which you will select a three-stage 'On the one hand... On the other... Therefore' structure - again, if you don't know what I am talking about have a browse about the website, or get back to us, and we will direct you to appropriate posts).
Next, begin to organise your facts/ideas/sources to the different parts of the essay. One way to do this is to cut up cards and physically sort them; another easier way is to have a large piece of paper and do spidergrams - whatever suits you best.
And then you do your source evaluation as you go along in the essay
But - I hear you ask - how much evaluation do I need to do?
And the (glib - sorry) answer is: as much as you need to do to answer the question properly.
If you look at what you have said is needed, it is to 'use primary sources to support the historical arguments'.
Now - of course - how much you evaluate the source will depend on the question, the argument, and the source!
But the key is that in most cases, if you are to meaningfully support the source, some degree of evaluation will come into that:
- if you are using a source which is A1 reliability, provided from a source in an A1 position to comment, and which directly states the idea you are wanting to support, then surely you are going to use (and that is the key word) all that evaluation stuff in your argument because you will want to show that this source REALLY supports your idea.
- by contrast, if you are - for example - citing an confused comment in an unclear source, from a known conspiracy theorist who lived centuries after the event, well again, you will need to add all that evaluation stuff as a caveat to your 'support' for your idea, because it really is a very weak suppotr altogether.
Can you see that you donlt necessarily have to evaluate every source, but what you do have to do is to take the evaluation side of things into your explanation as you argue your point - you have to USE the evaluation as part of your analysis.
Of course details will depend on what Board you are doing, and what your specific question is, and you must be prepared for this advice not to be relevant for your specific situation.
But I usually find that this is more-or-less the answer to your problem
If you want to get back, feel free.