Historical Research


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Historical Research

  1. 1. Historical Research
  2. 2. A. Definition and Areas of History What is the first thing that comes in to your mind when you hear the word history? The word history originally means the search for knowledge and truth.
  3. 3. B. Views on the Value of Historical Research Historical investigations help broaden our experiences and make us more understanding and appreciative of our human nature and uniqueness. By knowing our past, we know the present condition better.
  4. 4. C. Historical Research as a Modern Undertaking Most of those who engaged in historical writing intended for the most part to entertain or to inspire their readers. (Van Dalen, 1972). He considered history as somewhat aiming for truth. (Thucydides)
  5. 5. D. Characteristics of Contemporary Historical Researches Present historical investigations primarily aim for critical search for truth. In making your historical report the actual events and the conditions of the time are not violated,exaggerated,or distorted. The critical used by historians maybe useful in providing you the guidelines in your historical study. You may use them to assist you to judge objectively the conditions which led to their results of the studies undertaken previously.
  6. 6. E. Methods of Historical Research <ul><li>1.Formulating your problem </li></ul><ul><li>There are several motivations for undertaking a </li></ul><ul><li>historical research. </li></ul><ul><li>One of these is your doubt about some event,development or experience in the past. </li></ul><ul><li>Another reason for a historical study may be your discovery of new source materials the meaning of which will supply answers about past events when you make your interpretations. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Another source of your problem maybe a question regarding an old interpretation of an existing data;you may want to evolve a new hypothesis which will offer a more satisfactory explanation of past events. </li></ul><ul><li>You may have to take your time to look one by one at the important motives or reasons which caused you to doubt or to get interested about certain gaps in knowledge in relation to past event or experience. From here you may now draw a simple,clear,and a fairly complete description of your problem. </li></ul>
  8. 8. 2. Gathering your source materials One of your important initial tasks as a historical researcher is the gathering of the best available data to solve your problem. It is useful to look out for the many varied evidences of the activities engaged in by people who lived in the past. It is necessary at this point to be familiar to the different types of historical sources which you may avail of as you conduct your data collection.
  9. 9. A. Classifications of Historical Sources Historical sources maybe classified as primary or secondary(Fox,1969) A Primary source is regarded as the source of the “best evidence”.This is because the data come from the testimony of able eye and ear witnesses to past events. They may also consist of actual objects in the past which you can directly scrutinize or examine.
  10. 10. Secondary sources,on the other hand are informations supply who was not a direct observer or participant of the event,object, or condition.
  11. 11. Another classification of historical sources is based on whether the recording of the data was deliberate or inadvertent . Deliberate sources provide data which have been recorded with the conscious effort to preserve information (Fox,1969) Inadvertent sources supply information also for your historical study even though that was not the original intention of the source.
  12. 12. Good and Scates (1972) give two broad divisions which classify existing historical sources. These are: (1) reports of events called documents, which are composed of impressions made on some human brain by past events:these impressions have been consciously recorded with the aim of transmitting information. (2) Physical objects or written materials of historical value: these are called remains or relics and are produced without deliberately aiming to impart information.
  13. 13. Van Dalen (1979) enumerates the types of historical records which may be available in written, pictorial, and mechanical forms. These include official records, personal records, oral traditions, pictorial records like photographs, paintings, sculpture, movies, microfilm, slides, and coins; published materials like news papers, journals, pamphlets, literary and philosophical works and periodicals; mechanical records like tape recordings of interviews and conferences, phonograph records of speeches and reading activities; remains, which include physical remains, printed materials, and hand written materials. You now choose the evidence which is relevant to your problem.
  14. 14. B. Places where the sources are located After the source materials have been classified and describe to you the next question will be “Where are this material located?”
  15. 15. C. Systematizing your note-taking This is necessary because of the presence of full bibliographical information in your notes system is your basis for your proper documentation when you write your data in narrative form.
  16. 16. 3. Criticizing your source materials The terms external and internal refer to the purpose or objective of criticism and not to method or procedure in dealing with the sources (Good and Scates, 1974)
  17. 17. A. External Criticism External criticism involves finding out if the source material is genuine and if it possesses textual integrity (Gay, 1972) There are several procedures which you can do to check the genuineness of the source material. The techniques you may do include authenticating signatures, chemically analyzing the paint, or carbon-dating the artifacts.
  18. 18. There are essentially two common tests that you will have to do in a historical investigation. 1. Establishing authorship 2. establishing the place and date of publication of the source material. Undoubtedly, you wanna check against forgeries, rule out plagiarism, pinpoint materials which are not accurately identified, or put back a document to its original form.
  19. 19. B. Internal Criticism To check on the meaning and trustworthiness of the data within the document. Much of your work in internal criticism is textual criticism. However, your other concerns pertain to other factors like the competence, good faith, position, and bias of the author.
  20. 20. 1. Literal vs. the real meaning of the author's statement The meaning of the many words in older documents is different from the meaning they have today. Some words do not have the same meaning to all people. Different cultures and different eras have different beliefs and attitudes about certain things. Even in modern documents, the real meaning of a word or statement is difficult to ascertain owing to allegory, use of symbolism, irony, satire, jests, allusions, hoaxes, implications, metaphor, hyperboles and other rhetorical figures and literary ways of speaking.
  21. 21. 2. Competence of the author or observer There are several tests which you may use to determine the competence of an author. These include his status as a trained observer or eyewitness, the extent to which his position for making observation was favorable, to which memory was used after a lapse of time, and the use of original sources. The current issues at the time he wrote the document, as well as the level of the moral standards existing at the time will help you check his stand and convictions.
  22. 22. 3. Testing for truthfulness and honesty You may ask several questions to test the truthfulness and honesty of an author. Was the author motivated by personal or vested interest in producing the material? To what race, nationality, religion, ideology, social class, party, economic group, or profession did he belong, which might led him to have biases and prejudices?
  23. 23. Was he writing seriously, ironically, humorously, or symbolically, or was he voicing his real convictions? Was he presenting the views of the establishment for public notice, using conventional language, to write what he did not know or to conceal his own views? Was there evidence of vanity or boasting by the author? Did he make distortions, exaggerations, and embellishments, to achieve colorful effects?
  24. 24. A. Special problems in writing and interpreting your data These problems include: 1. Determining the major problems to be aswered 2. using inductive reasoning 3. Formulating and testing your own hypothesis 4. Causation 5. Historical perspective 6. developing a guiding thesis or principles of synthesis 7. framing your generalization and conclusions
  25. 25. F. Strengths and Limitations of Historical Research Historical research can only give a fractional view of the past; its knowledge is never complete and is derived from the surviving records of a limited number of past events. History also depends on valuable materials which are difficult to preserve.
  26. 26. Some scholars contend that history requires a different method and interpretation because of its elusive subject matter – the past. Another Weaknesses is the absence of the technical historical terminology in historical research.