Mapping the Guidelines

A Sample Scope and Sequence for the Primary Source Literacy Guidelines


The Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy provide a key set of competencies and related learning objectives for students working with primary sources. With 22 learning objectives in 5 key areas outlined, no educator can plan to teach to mastery for all the objectives in any one lesson, group of lessons, or course. A “scope and sequence” can be used to plan how the learning objectives will be addressed at a curricular level, so that the learning objectives can be planned for with the right breadth and depth over time (scope) and arranged in a logical progression (sequence). This sample scope and sequence imagines that students are on a four-year progression, such as towards a baccalaureate degree. Acknowledging that some students may have a great deal of familiarity with concepts around primary courses from their K-12 education, while others may not write their first research paper until the 3rd or even 4th year toward their degree, this map assumes that a 4-year baccalaureate student may follow roughly the progression of tasks outlined below.

Novice/1st year students will begin to learn the difference between primary and secondary sources in scholarly writing and will be aware of some local repositories holding materials. They will have seen digital surrogates of primary source material in an online database or in a course.

Beginning/2nd year students will have seen primary source material in a campus repository classroom.

Intermediate/3rd year students will have requested and used primary source material in a campus repository reading room. Advanced/4th year students will be able to incorporate research from multiple sources into a full-length scholarly essay (e.g., 6,000-10,000 words) or capstone project.

In the chart below, the Primary Source Literacy guidelines have been arranged according to major domain on the left and distributed across these stages across the top. In most cases, the year in which an objective appears is the one in which this concept will be introduced; for some particularly complex and important objectives, arrows indicate that these skills will need to be addressed iteratively over time. Any proposed sequence will be based on local experience at any given institution, and a good scope and sequence will be constructed with knowledge of broad curricular objectives and through conversation with various stakeholders.

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