How to Study History

How to Study History

How to Study History

How to Study History

Synopsis

We have set down in this book the basic rules and principles of historical study that a student should bear in mind as he enters upon his first college history course. In our experience as college teachers of history, we have found that students need to be informed on the nature and methods of history as a distinct intellectual discipline, and we have tried to communicate this information in as direct and practical a way as possible.

We have no only set before the college student the standards of excellence one should strive to attain in historical study; we have attempted to show, step by step, how to reach these goals. We have presented the methods and principles that appear to have the widest consensus among academic historians, and we have sought to avoid extreme and idiosyncratic opinions.

Excerpt

We have set down in this book the basic rules and principles of historical study that a student should bear in mind as he enters upon his first college history course. In our experience as college teachers of history, we have found that students need to be informed on the nature and methods of history as a distinct intellectual discipline, and we have tried to communicate this information in as direct and practical a way as possible. We have not only set before the college student the standards of excellence he should strive to attain in historical study; we have attempted to show him, step by step, how he can reach these goals. We have presented the methods and principles that appear to have the widest consensus among academic historians, and we have sought to avoid extreme and idiosyncratic opinions.

We recommend that all of this book be assigned as reading in the first week of a college history course, particularly the survey course in the history of Western Civilization or Modern Europe. Alternatively, the student can read Chapters 1–6 the first week and Chapters 7–13 a month later. Chapters 1–6 contain the information the student will need immediately upon beginning historical study; the remaining chapters provide a guide to work the student will encounter a little later in the term. The beginning freshman in a survey course can be allowed to omit the second and third parts of Chapter 7; but if he is not required to read these sections, he should turn to them at the end of the term when he is ready for more advanced work in history.

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