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In the paper “Practical methods from history” the author evaluates writing history, which brings together practical methods from history to provide tips to assist learners carry out research and write captivating essays. It covers all writing aspects…
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Practical methods from history
Writing history brings together practical methods from history to provide tips to assist learners carry out research and write captivating essays. It covers all writing aspects including constructing arguments, research topics and interpreting source materials. It ends with three chapters that give insight on writing effective sentences and using precise words. Using many examples from socio-political historians, the book serves as an ideal tool in all history courses that require learners to carry out research.
Writing history involves making discernments. Historians select the best subjects from many subjects. They select reference materials carefully, and assemble evidence that they think may argue against or for their subjects.1 In doing so, they ensure that they balance their needs with the needs of the audience. Successful historians must be able to make good decisions and transform difficult research into narratives and seamless arguments.
There are various factors that make historians to write history. They may be interested in giving explanation to a specific source by assessing its importance relative to other sources. They begin with analyzing a problem that they noticed in a source of historical literature. The other reason is that they may be assigned the assignment by their instructor. Despite all these factors, the most convenient way of writing history is by engaging with the reference materials.
There are various forms of analytical essays. Some essays analyze one source while others analyze more than two sources. One knows the form of essay by examining the wording given in the instruction. Words used include “analyze”, “evaluate”, “compare,” and “assess.” These words enable historians get more information about a certain source through various means. For example, analyzing helps break down a historical source into its constituents hence enhances people’s understanding of it. As a result, a leaner should examine the type of words used in order to make inference on the essay.
The first form of analytical essay is the book review. Reviewing a book is a straightforward exercise because it identifies the main arguments in a book and summarizes them in the way they are understood. 2 In such an essay, it is crucial to highlight the most and the least persuasive evidence. The second form of essay is the comparative essay. This compares two situations using different sources. One has to be keen while analyzing two sources in order to capture the strong arguments and the weak arguments.
There are various important steps that should be followed in order to write a great essay. First, one should begin with finding a historical motive. The next step is exploring one’s interests by writing projects. These interests should be explored early enough. Working with bibliographies helps identify sources on a subject hence presents more information to a historian. There are various ways a historian can get bibliographies. Whatever the source of bibliographies, one should strive to use them to make inferences. Inferences are decisions made after a careful analysis of sources.
Making inferences begins with a consideration of already established facts. These facts are then converted into evidence because they cannot just stand by themselves and prove evidence. Only the most reliable and informative facts should be chosen. However, these facts should be checked to ascertain whether they can be useful or not. 3 This is because it is difficult to differentiate where a fact stops and allows interpretation to begin. Finally, the sources should be checked and compared. These include both the primary and the secondary sources.
In conclusion, Writing History is significant for writing historical essays. It gives pertinent information that can enable learners to carry out research and write their essays well. As a result, learners intending to carry out research should make use of this book in order to enhance their skills and present succinct research.
Questions
What drives historians to carry out research?
Explain the importance of research to historians.
Highlight the main difference between comparative and analytical essays.
What is the importance of facts to historical research?
Describe the best way students should make their inferences.
Briefly explain the factors that make historians and learners to write history.
State three ways in which the book can help improve a learner’s scores?
Discuss the main forms of analytical essays.
Bibliography
Storey, William K. Writing History: A Guide for Students. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Read More
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