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Ch 5: Historical Research Techniques

About This Chapter

Discover how social scientists study historical narratives and documents to accurately determine which information is reliable and how to interpret what the author meant. Review how you can improve your own research and become better at analyzing historical sources.

Historical Research Techniques - Chapter Summary

To begin this chapter, you'll review how to distinguish between two major types of data: qualitative data and quantitative data. These lessons include plenty of examples of what would fit in each category. Following, there are several lessons about what factors historians must consider when analyzing and evaluating historical documents. These include deciding whether they are primary or secondary resources, if they are reliable sources and what the key points are. Review techniques for recognizing a historical source's strengths and weaknesses and what to do when you come across source discrepancy.

Check out this specific list of topics included in this chapter:

  • Types of data that can be measured (quantitative)
  • Kinds of data that can be observed and evaluated (qualitative)
  • Applying inductive and deductive validity in order to analyze a document's reasoning
  • Determining cases of biases, stereotypes and assumptions in documents and narratives
  • The process to challenge a document
  • Uses of propaganda in WWII.

Many of the lessons are offered in video format, which boost your learning experience. Listen along to the transcript as you watch these clips, where you can see animated explanations, essential definitions as well as historical examples of propaganda. All of the lessons have a 5-question quiz so you can do a quick test of what you've understood.

11 Lessons in Chapter 5: Historical Research Techniques
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Quantitative Data? - Definition & Examples

1. What is Quantitative Data? - Definition & Examples

Quantitative data allow researchers to answer questions that require counting and measurement. Learn about data that can be counted, data that can be measured, and uses of quantitative data.

What is Qualitative Data? - Definition & Examples

2. What is Qualitative Data? - Definition & Examples

Qualitative data is composed of descriptive qualities often taken from observations and evaluations and is the opposite of quantitative data, which is numerical quantities. Identify the uses of qualitative data and how it appears in the real world.

How to Analyze Historical Documents & Narratives

3. How to Analyze Historical Documents & Narratives

Just like detectives, historians have to analyze all sorts of sources, including documents and narratives, in order to find out what really happened. This lesson explains some of the things historians must consider when doing so.

Evaluating the Validity of Historical Documents & Narratives

4. Evaluating the Validity of Historical Documents & Narratives

Historians have to analyze a great deal of data in order to find out what sources are worthwhile. However, many sources may not be valid. This lesson explains how historians are able to find out which sources are worth their attention.

Primary vs. Secondary Resources in Historical Research

5. Primary vs. Secondary Resources in Historical Research

Primary and secondary sources in historical research are used together to provide a complete view of a situation. Learn about secondary and primary sources and how to recognize bad sources.

How to Evaluate Reasoning

6. How to Evaluate Reasoning

A critical analysis includes the evaluation of a written document's reasoning. Learn the steps to evaluate an author's reasoning fairly regardless of position in an argument and to understand how to use tools such as inductive and deductive validity in the process.

Challenging an Idea: Identifying Key Points & Avenues of Research

7. Challenging an Idea: Identifying Key Points & Avenues of Research

In this lesson, we will learn about challenging an idea or claim. We will explore how to identify key points of a claim or thesis and highlight strategies used to provide a rebuttal.

Understanding a Source's Strengths and Weaknesses

8. Understanding a Source's Strengths and Weaknesses

In the social sciences, factual information is based on sources. Learn how to understand a source's strengths and weaknesses. Explore the function of sources, differentiate between primary and secondary sources, and review propaganda and source interpretations to recognize why sources are important and how to ensure that a source is reliable.

Acknowledging and Working With Source Discrepancies

9. Acknowledging and Working With Source Discrepancies

Have you ever read one thing in one book, and a totally contradictory thing in another book? That's called a source discrepancy. In this lesson, you'll learn how to deal with that when you're writing a paper.

Recognizing Biases, Assumptions & Stereotypes in Written Works

10. Recognizing Biases, Assumptions & Stereotypes in Written Works

Recognizing biases, assumptions, and stereotypes in written works aid in accumulating more accurate knowledge and thinking critically. Learn more about what biases are, how to recognize them, and how stereotypes influence writing.

What is Propaganda? - Definition, Techniques, Types & Examples

11. What is Propaganda? - Definition, Techniques, Types & Examples

Propaganda is a powerful means of communication often used to negatively manipulate or shape others' ideas, causes, or beliefs. Consider how propaganda was used by both the U.S. and the Nazi party during WW II, as well as discover positive ways it can be the catalyst for having things change for the better by looking at various techniques, types, and examples of propaganda.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken
More Exams
There are even more practice exams available in Historical Research Techniques.

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