TLO 4: Identify and Interpret a Wide Variety of Secondary and Primary Sources

  • Adrian JonesEmail author


This chapter addresses the fourth Australian Threshold Learning Outcome (TLO) for university studies of history: ‘identify and interpret a wide variety of secondary and primary sources’. There are equivalents in the European Union Tuning and in the UK Quality Assurance Agency. Notions of primacy in ‘sourcing’ are at stake in this TLO. It is about finding and interpreting evidence. But what is a source? And what makes one primary, and another secondary? These notions reflect authorial orderings of authority when communicating about history. My key points are that these notions have changed. They have a history. A hypothesis is tested: difficulties encountered by students in relation to ‘sourcing’ echo past thinking about what ‘authority’ and its associated sense of ‘evident-ness’ might amount to when communicating about history. This chapter places the pedagogical literature on barriers to student learning beside the history of history writing and research, and in the light of studies of the epistemology of history.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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