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HIS 250: Historical Methods

Historical methods

Within the multi-disciplinary context of the present-day social sciences, ‘historical methods’ refers to the adoption of a diverse array of source materials, methods and modes of analysis utilised within the discipline of history, and employed within social research. Though increasingly acceptable within the broad field of social research, the use of historical methods has not always been so welcome, and the precise relationship between social and historical research, and between history and the core social sciences, remains contested.

Historical methods


Historiography is simply defined as the study of historical writing. But, it is more than that. To gain an intimate knowledge of the subject of history - and especially the sub-disciplines that play a role in the historical narrative - you have to know what has been written about them. While many like to think the study of history is merely memorization of names, dates, battles, and other general knowledge, that is not the case. History is the story of how we got here and the interpretations of that story. Those interpretations are told through writing and other forms by historians and authors. These interpretations vary dependent on many factors. Time, place, bias, and politics just to name a few. Your job is to understand this broad base of knowledge and work and seek to make sense of it all while also figuring out where you fit in with it.