Who created the source and why?

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Analyzing sources that pertain to women’s lives and experiences often starts with questions about author or creator and why something was created. Any author, male or female, brings a set of assumptions and values that shape the source. Understanding those assumptions and values is one of the first steps in understanding the source. If an author can be identified, a next step is to learn more about his or her life.

Some sources, such as official documents and newspaper advertisements, do not necessarily have an identifiable author. Nonetheless, they reflect the consensus of a group of creators, such as legislators, diplomats, newspaper owners, and marketing firms. These authors still represent identifiable perspectives that can help explain the sources.