Social Studies 101: How to Identify Evidence

Glasses and magnifying glass

Social studies allow us to understand specific events that have happened throughout history. When preparing for the social studies portion of the GED, it is important to be able to identify evidence in order to analyze important documents.  

Below, we will be reviewing two practice questions that are similar to what you may see on the social studies portion of the GED.    

These questions will help you master the identification of specific evidence to support analyses of primary and secondary sources. It will also help you understand the precise details of explanations or descriptions of a process, event, or concept.   

Example #1  

This excerpt is from an anti-Federalist paper published in 1787. It has been paraphrased.  

Based on this excerpt, what did the anti-Federalists want included in the U.S Constitution?  

A. A bill of rights. 

B. An elected legislature. 

C. A system of checks and balances. 

D. A system of federal and state courts. 

This question requires you to analyze the meaning of the anti-Federalist paper. The key to being able to answer this question is to find evidence that supports one of the conclusions made in the multiple-choice options.  

 

Answer Rational:   

The correct answer is a bill of rights (A). The following phrases from the excerpt provide evidence that anti-Federalists wanted a bill of rights included in the Constitution: “all men by nature are free” “people in many countries have created written protections to prevent abuses” “states have all specifically safeguarded individual liberties”  

Example #2 

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on Law Day, U.S.A, 2015 

Which statement from the proclamation provides the best evidence that President Obama believed the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the U.S. government?  

A. “… Respect for and adherence to the rule of law … helps to ensure all people receive fair treatment, and protects our Government of, by, and for the people.” 

B. “[W]e celebrate … the rule of law by marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta …” 

C. “Centuries ago … it was this extraordinary document … that first spelled out the rights and liberties of man.” 

D. “Around the globe, we must support civil institutions, independent judiciaries, and open government because the rule of force must give way to the rule of law.”   

This question requires you to analyze information from President Barack Obama’s proclamation on Law Day. Use the excerpts to find the best evidence that support his beliefs.  

 

Answer Rational:  

The correct answer is “… Respect for and adherence to the rule of law … helps to ensure all people receive fair treatment, and protects our Government of, by, and for the people.” (A). Pay attention to the stem with emphasis on the text, rule of law is “a fundamental principle of the U.S. government. Option A says the U.S. government is protected by the principle of rule of law. It “protects” the government, which shows that it is a fundamental idea.  

 

You’ve made it to the end! Make sure to thoroughly read every passage or graph that is related to the question at hand when you take the social studies subject test.  

You got this! If you want to learn more, we have study guides, interactive tools, and practice tests in your student account at GED.com 

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