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HIS 250: Historical Methods


This guide has been created to be a partner for your project in HIS 250: Historical Methods. This class, an intensive introduction to the concepts, methods, and issues in the study of history, is vital to your understanding of how to do research and immerse yourself into a body of historical scholarship. You will learn how to frame historical questions, gain an understanding of historiography, and come to differentiate between the various types of sources in history. 


Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, by John Trumbull

What do historians do?

Historical researchers often use documentary,  biographicaloral history, and archival methods, in addition to many of the methods commonly used across the social sciences. Historical research is often concerned with topics related to social change over time and data can take many forms, including photographs and secondary data and documents from a range of official and academic sources.  Literature reviews are an important part of many historical research projects and interpreting various sources critically is a key skill historians develop.

Historical associations

As with any academic profession, historians are expected to be involved professionally on numerous levels. As such, they are expected to join various professional organizations. While many of these organizations are large and overarching, there are also organizations that are very focused and sub-discipline specific that historians in those areas will want to join as well. Below is a list of of of these organizations that you will want to consider joining in your professional career.