OPVL Analysis Tips

In analyzing a document for OPVL, consider the questions below and make reference to specific historical events or trends that illustrate your answers.


  • When was the document created?
  • Who created it?
  • Where did it first appear?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • What was the historical context in which it was created?


  • Why did the author create the document?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Value and Limitations:

  • What information was available to the author that might not be available elsewhere?
  • What important information was not available to the author? (Consider when the document was created.)
  • Did the author get information from a reliable source?
  • Does the author have reasons to emphasize certain facts over others to a particular audience? Might the author present the story differently to different audience?
  • What specific information might the author have chosen to leave out?
  • Does the author concede a certain point that it is inconvenient for him/her to admit to?
  • How might the historical context in which the document was created influence our interpretation?