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Historical Methodology: The Art and Craft of the Historian

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course will introduce you to historical research methods and familiarize you with the tools and techniques that historians use to study the past.  You will learn about the process of modern historical inquiry and gain a better understanding of the diverse resources that historians use to conduct research.  The course will be structured topically.  The first four units will focus on research methodology and examine how and why historians conduct research on the past.  Later units will examine how different historical resources can be used for historical research.  By the end of the course, you will understand how to conduct research on past events and be familiar with the variety of physical and electronic resources available for historical research.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • assess the importance of studying the past and presenting conclusions informed by historical research;
  • think critically about the differences between primary and secondary historical sources;
  • articulate the process of developing research questions, conducting historical research, and presenting findings in an original manner;
  • identify the challenges of conducting historical research and the differences between quantitative and qualitative methodologies;
  • define the concept of historiography,and provide a brief overview of major historiographical trends of the past 19th and 20th centuries;
  • explain how to conduct historical research in a library and archive;
  • explain how to use online historical research to pursue historical inquiries;
  • explain how to conduct historical research using non-textual and cultural sources; and
  • articulate the different careers choices and research dissemination venues open to historians.

Course Requirements  showclose

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

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