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matthewmdm

History EE - Balkan Conflicts before WWI

Hey guys! I had a few quick questions about the EE. How many sources should we use in each paragraph? How many of those should be primary? And how many historian perspectives should we include?

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1. How many sources in each paragraph

A: Depends on the paragraph. Some people structure there essays differently. Some have evidence and analysis in every paragraph, while others do evidence first and analysis later (kind of like the history IA). I think the IB is probably looking for good sources and good information more than the quanitiy of sources, especially per paragraph.

2. How many should be primary?

A: My IB History teacher believes that secondary sources are only good for historiography and context and that primary sources should be used for pretty much all of the rest of the evidence. I don't know if that's the IB's opinion or just his. I think you'll want the majority of your sources to be primary, as they allow you to do better analysis of both the evidence and the sources themselves (again, like the history IA).

3. How many perspectives?

A: What's your question? If you're discussing how perspectives have changed about the Balkan Conflicts, you'll want lots. If your question is about the conflict itself, then you'll probably want at least one historian or school of thought to argue with, and maybe one or more that agree with you (this qualifies more as evidence in my opinion than historiography, but it should make you look pretty balanced. Just be sure to come up with your own analysis).

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1. You use a source every time you write a sentence that is not 100% your original thought. If you're using someone else's idea, you reference it. If you're using their exact wording, you reference it.

2. Whether you use primary sources mostly, secondary sources mostly, or a mixture of both is going to depend on your topic. Some topics are going to focus around a particular historical artifact, some are going to be on really old topics with not a lot of primary information, and others (like yours) will be able to include both kinds of sources. Don't just include primary sources to have them or because "they look good," if you're going to use a primary source you better talk about it, weigh its merits and limitations, and show how it adds to your argument. Same with secondary sources. I disagree with the above poster's opinion on primary/secondary sources. You can have a very biased primary source and a neutral secondary source, and in this case for a more objective view you'd take your evidence from the secondary source primarily.

3. You use as many perspectives as you need to back up your argument and provide counterexamples. You should represent all sides of the argument at least once, however. The number of historians you use to do that is up to you.

As you write your EE and go on to university studies you'll learn that the amount of sources, types of sources, etc number-wise does not matter. You write as much as you need, and use as much evidence and support as you need to, to fully answer the question. This is practice for that.

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