Historical research refers to comparing historical data on past events and identifying the causes of their happening. It involves analysing the historical data in-depth that assists in understanding the past, current and future events. With time, it is upgrading and involving modernisation in its processes and techniques. This article will explore the modern methods in historical research that researchers can use while doing effective research.
What is the main purpose of historical research?
Historical research intends to identify the genuineness and truthfulness of prior historical work. It serves two main purposes in conducting a comprehensive historical study. These two main purposes are as follows;
The purpose behind historical research is to draw meaningful inferences about a past person or an event. It studies what causes a subject to happen in the past and how it influences the present and future happenings of the event. It does not involve the researcher in the situation under study. Moreover, the researcher does not interact either minimally or maximally with the subjects under study. The researcher focuses on the documents, diaries, and records of the event under study to draw logical inferences. Hence, it verifies the genuineness of the event to draw valid inferences. In this regard, hiring dissertation writing services make it more valuable.
Restating the prior historical work
Historical research serves to restate the prior historical work. It does so by focusing on a specific event or a person. It identifies any possible link between past, present and future happenings of the event. If a possible link exists, then prior historical data is replaced with the new historical data. The establishment of the possible link helps in revising the existing work of the researchers in the domain. Hence, it assists in revising as well as restating the prior historical data that carries flaws or needs replacement.
Doing historical research online.
The online technique is the best option for anyone who wants to conduct historical research. The researchers can collect historical data by sitting at home with a secure internet connection and laptop. They can conduct it at any time by browsing on their laptops. This will save the time and the cost of the researchers as well. The following steps will help you in doing historical research online;
State research problem
The researcher should state the problem by answering the why, whom, what, when, and where aspects of the study. By answering them clearly, the research can identify the key variables as well as keywords that aid them in online historical research.
It should be conducted by web searching in an effective manner. They can do so by searching the keywords or combination of keywords from credible search engines, such as Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic.
Digital data sources
The researcher can opt for digital data sources from the sites as follows;
- For Digital library of Book (Internet Achieve, Google Books, Hathi trust).
- For Digital Archives, Manuscripts, and Newspapers (Kresen Kernow, Discovery, British Newspaper archives).
Save and Annotate
The researcher should save and interpret the most linked sources for convenience and ease.
What are the methods of historical research?
The methods in historical research are as follows;
Identifying an issue or a problem
Researchers should be crystal clear in identifying a significant research problem. They should opt for a problem that can be researchable and contributes to the field.
Conducting a background Literature Review
To get in-depth knowledge about a research problem, researchers should conduct a literature review. They should study the most linked and relevant research and literature studies on the problem under study. It will assist them in getting strong command over their research problem.
Formulating a hypotheses
Hypotheses need to be formulated after getting insights from literature and research studies about a problem under study. Hypotheses will help the researcher in explaining and comparing the phenomenon under study.
Collecting data (sources of data)
The academic researcher in doing historical research can opt for primary and secondary data collection sources. The primary source entails first-hand data collection from original reports, artefacts, relics, and documents by the researcher itself. It involves the person who is a witness to a fact. They can keep the primary source consciously (autobiographies) and unconsciously (weapons or clothing). The primary source is preferred in historical research, but they are harder to find.
On the other hand, the secondary source involves second-hand information that the researcher itself does not gather. It entails textbooks, periodicals, encyclopaedias, and newspapers. Moreover, it involves the reports of a person who is the actual witness to the event. These sources of information are not trustworthy and subject to criticism on the grounds of too much resilience by the researchers. But secondary data plays an important role in historical data collection.
Evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of data
It is difficult to evaluate, analyse and interpret data in historical research. The reason is that it is difficult to comprehend the present and future happenings by relating with past happenings. Moreover, the cause and effect relationship is difficult to grasp in historical research due to vast data collection. Researchers should compare and interpret the similarities and differences of historical data with care, as any negligence will affect the findings and validity of the research. Hence, the researcher should use the analogy to interpret the historical data.
Writing a research report.
Historical research provides important past, present, and future data or perspectives. The research report should include the historical narratives of the good quality research report. It should be written in keeping the historical accuracy and authenticity by supporting evidence and facts. Its material should be written in the topical or foundational style. It can be either written in a thematic or chronological order. The researcher should present the study’s findings in simple and understandable language as well.
Modern methods in historical research ease researchers by saving their time and cost in travelling far off places for historical data. The researchers with modern methods in historical research can conduct pictures, family, people, and address searches. They can even involve themsleves in historical maps, sites and building searches by using the internet and sitting at home.