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HIS 2800: Writing History: Overview

What is History?

"...making effective arguments about the past using ample evidence from a variety of sources, such as empirical data, archival documents, and oral histories..."
(Pojmann, p.3, 2016)

Historians "often search for new or other evidence and interpretations of the past to show that there are many differences and variations among people of multiple times and places."
(Pojmann, p.5, 2016)

Select Historical Research Terminology

Historiography - - the narrative presentation of history based on a critical examination, evaluation, and selection of material from primary and secondary sources and subject to scholarly criteria

Primary Source - documents, images or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an historical topic under research investigation

Secondary Source - a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or period after the event has occurred and, generally speaking, with the use of primary sources


Argument - (a) a discussion involving differing points of view; debate. (b) a process of reasoning; series of reasons

Artifact - an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest

Archive - a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people

Context - the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed

Document - - (a) any written item, as a book, article, or letter, especially of a factual or informative nature; may also include images, art, cartoons and other visual representations. (b) to furnish with references, citations, etc., in support of statements made

Ephemera - items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity

Manuscript - a book, document, or piece of music written by hand rather than typed or printed

Material - the substance or substances of which a thing is made or composed; anything that serves as crude or raw matter to be used or developed

Monographs - printed manuscripts or books

Point of View - the opinion, attitude, or judgment of a particular person to a topic

Popular - Written for a general audience

Raw Material - material before being processed or manufactured into a final form

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