Analysing images - 5W1H

Learning intention

Students brainstorm around the 5w (who, what, when, where, why) and 1h (how) framework to generate questions before they begin to analyse an image in detail. Understanding the context of the image helps students to recognise point of view, attitudes and any bias inherent in an image.

Students will:

  • Locate relevant information from sources provided (ACHHS084)(ACHHS102)
  • Identify the origin and purpose of primary and secondary sources (ACHHS209)
  • Identify and describe points of view, attitudes and values in primary and secondary sources (ACHHS085) (ACHHS155)
  • Draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources (ACHHS211)


An image relevant to the topic being studied (see More to explore at the bottom of the page for a variety of great digital image resources)

Evaluating sources - student template [Word 8.52 KB]

5W1H - student template [PDF 4.78 KB]

For more information, see the Select resources section of this site.


Ask students to brainstorm around 5w (who, what, when, where, why) and 1h (how) framework to generate questions they can take to the source when they start their activity. For example:

  • Who - Who created this source?
  • What - What did they do for a living? What was their position in society?
  • When - When was the source created? What do we know about the period?
  • Where - Where was the source created? What do we know about this city/country?
  • Why - Why was this source created? What was the writer/artist's purpose? Who was their audience?
  • How - How was the source created? Which techniques were used and how does it shape the source's overall message?

As an extension, students could complete the evaluating sources student template.

More to explore

State Library Victoria Flickr page - great albums of out of copyright images from the SLV collections

State Library Victoria digital image pool - search function that allows students to browse thousands of copyright free images from the Library's catalogue

Trove - Pictures, photos, objects - section of the NLA's Trove website which searches thousands of images from collections across Australia

Google reverse image search - a great tool that allows you to search by image, especially useful if you can not find information about a particular image you have come across.

Google images - use Google's powerful search engines and tools to find images from different collections around the world

Engraving of William Buckley revealing himself to white settlers.