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Historical method facts for kids

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The historical method are the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history.


Following Garraghan (in: A Guide to Historical Method, 168) puts six questions that should be answered as minimal standard for a sound historical method:

  1. When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)?
  2. Where was it produced (localization)?
  3. By whom was it produced (authorship)?
  4. From what pre-existing material was it produced (analysis)?
  5. In what original form was it produced (integrity)?
  6. What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)?
  • Gilbert J. Garraghan, A Guide to Historical Method, Fordham University Press: New York (1946). ISBN: 0-8371-7132-6.
  • Louis Gottschalk, Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method, Alfred A. Knopf: New York (1950). ISBN: 0-394-30215-X.
  • Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods, Cornell University Press: Ithaca (2001). ISBN: 0-8014-8560-6.
  • C. Behan McCullagh, Justifying Historical Descriptions, Cambridge University Press: New York (1984). ISBN: 0-521-31830-0.
  • R. J. Shafer, A Guide to Historical Method, The Dorsey Press: Illinois (1974). ISBN: 0-534-10825-3.

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