Source and Perspective

When beginning to read a text for study or testing, understanding the source and perspective of the passage can be extremely helpful. Whether you are reading fiction, non-fiction, historical, or scientific writings, understanding who wrote the work and why is crucial to critical thinking. Examining these concepts more closely is a terrific tool for reading success.

Defining the Terms


A primary source is a text that was written or created in the time and place you’re studying.

A secondary source is a text written about another time and place, often citing and analyzing primary sources.


The author’s perspective includes his or her values, beliefs, background, and reasons for writing.

The author may have been affected by what is happening in the world.

The author’s culture and knowledge may affect how he responds within the text.

Author perspective helps you make inferences.

A strong understanding of a text’s source and perspective will boost reading comprehension and allow testers to tackle tough questions. Remember: Any investment in building reading and language skills pays off in more ways than one! This skill is not only helpful in the reading sections of the GED, HiSET, and TASC, but the science and social studies portions as well. Build this foundation and watch your score soar.

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