Researching history

Graeme Johanson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

    Abstract

    Researchers tend to focus excessively on the future and neglect the relevance of the past. Yet the study of history provides deep understanding of individuals, societies, organisations, and global structures in the hope of enlightening and improving the present. At its best, history is an entertaining and informative reconstruction of probable causes of habits, trends and events, and it explores human motives, experiences, behaviours, fears and hopes. The fundamental resource of the historian is evidence from the past. Evidence can be difficult to analyse for comprehensive meaning, but five evaluative techniques are recommended to help to manage the task: detection, scepticism, attribution and disentanglement, verification and clarification, storytelling and explanation. Many examples are given to show how the techniques are deployed by historians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationResearch Methods
    Subtitle of host publicationInformation, Systems, and Contexts
    EditorsKirsty Williamson, Graeme Johanson
    Place of PublicationKidlington OX UK
    PublisherChandos Publishing
    Chapter12
    Pages289-310
    Number of pages22
    Edition2nd
    ISBN (Electronic)9780081022214
    ISBN (Print)9780081022207
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Evidence
    • Historical actors
    • Historical evidence
    • Historical hypotheses
    • Historical values
    • Historical verification
    • History research
    • Narrative
    • Past in the future

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