Examples of conceptually-related questions

The following questions may help to probe specific concepts:

Context & chronology
  • When did this happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • In what order did it happen?
  • What was the broader historical context?
  • What were the characteristic features, conditions and outlook of the period?
  • In what ways is the broader context significant?
  • In what ways did the conditions and perspectives of the time trigger, shape, determine or constrain events?
  • Did one or more elements in a sequence of events or situation combine to make another action/outcome possible/probable?
  • How are our interpretation and explanations of context affected and shaped by hindsight?
Change and Continuity
  • What types and variation of change was taking place at the time? e.g. political, economic, social; cultural, religious, technological?
  • Were there key events, turning points or individuals that triggered, precipitated or motivated change?
  • What was the speed/ rate/ extent / impact of change?
    e.g. was it  rapid, gradual, erratic, violent, widespread or localised?  Did it affect certain groups / sectors of society more than others?
  • What was the duration of change? e.g. short-lived or long-term?
  • Did the change result in progress, regression, evolution or little real change? (continuity).
  • How have our interpretations and explanations of continuity and change been influenced and informed by hindsight?
Cause and consequence
  • What variety of factors/ reasons combined to bring about change at any given time?
  • What were the significant causes, turning points, sequence of events or developments?
  • What combination of causes and consequences enabled or determined particular outcomes?
  • Were some events or developments or people more important than others?
  • What was the relative significance or importance of different factors?
  • What were the intended and unintended short, medium and long term outcomes/ consequences?
  • Which aspects made the most difference to the outcomes?
  • How are our interpretation and explanations of causes and consequences influenced and informed by hindsight?
  • How did individuals interact with the context to shape events?
  • Which individuals were significant?  What part did they play?
  • How did individual hopes, intentions, beliefs, motives and decisions affect their actions?
  • How were individuals shaped by events?
  • How are our interpretations and explanations of individual actions influenced by hindsight?
Role of individuals
  • How did individuals interact with the context to shape events?
  • Which individuals were significant?  What part did they play?
  • How did individual hopes, intentions, beliefs, motives and decisions affect their actions?
  • How were individuals shaped by events?
  • How are our interpretation and explanations of individual actions influenced by hindsight?
Significance
  • How important / remarkable was the event, issue or person at the time and/or since?
  • How many lives were affected at the time, in the interim or since?
  • How significant was the change at the time and since?
  • What is the nature of the collective memory?  How relevant is the event, issue or person to people and circumstances today?
  • How deeply / profoundly did the event, issue or person affect the context at the time?
  • What have been the consequences?  How durable have the consequences been and why?
  • How are the events remembered within the collective memory of a group or groups?  How and why do events then still resonate today?
  • Why are these events so closely connected to group experiences, beliefs or situations over time?
  • How are judgements about significance related to the value systems of the period in which they were produced?
  • How have judgements about significance changed over time?