Of all the questions in Components 1 and 2 of the Edexcel A-Level politics course, students find source questions to be the most challenging, especially when it comes to interpreting and deciding what to do with the information that is presented in the source. The most common error that examiners report in source essays comes from when students spend the essay trying to interpret and explain what the source is saying, rather than using it as the basis for analysing both sides of the debate within the source and clearly justifying which side is the strongest.
A good way of understanding the purpose of a source is to imagine two people sitting in a pub having a debate over a particular political issue, for example whether the UK should have left the European Union. The first person presents their view on the debate, normally with two or three clear points. The second person then responds with their own counterpoints. Your role is essentially to listen and understand both arguments, then analyse each point made using your own knowledge, before fully evaluating which side of the debate is the strongest and why this is the case.
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