†RESEARCH METHODS IN HISTORY
Instructor: Dr. Daniel T. Dorrity
Office: Library 303
Office Telephone: 635-2117
Office hours: MTWRF 0900-1000am
Web Site: www.lssu.edu/faculty/ddorrity.htm
Students Accommodations and Support Services:
In compliance with
Students are required to read (study) the following textbook: Mark T. Guilderus. History and Historians: A Historiographical Introduction. Students will also be assigned excerpts from various writings. These will be placed on reserve in the Library. Listed below are a number of other works on historical method and writing, some of which the student may wish to purchase or use in the library.
Barzun, Jacques and Henry Graff. The Modern Researcher.
Barzun, Jacques. Writing, Editing, and Publishing: Essays Explicative and Hortatory.
Benjamin, Jules R. A Studentís Guide to History.
Bloch, Marc. The Historianís Craft.
Butterfield, Herbert. The Whig Interpretation of History.
Cantor, Norman and Richard I. Schneider. How to Study History.
Carr, Edward H. What Is History?
Gottschalk, Louis. Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method.
Guinsburg, Thomas N. The Dimensions of History
Lichtman, Allan J. and French, Valerie. The Living Past.
Lowith, Karl. Meaning in History.
Pace, David , et al. Studying for History.
Steffans, Henry J. and Dickerson, Mary J. Writerís Guide: History.
Stern Fritz. The Varieties of History.
Tuchman, Barbara W. Practising History: Selected Essays.
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for the Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
Wilson, John R. M. Research Guide in History.
Wresch, William, et al. Writing for the 21st Century: Computers and Research Writing.
Students will acquire:
A deeper understanding of the processes of history
A greater ability to perceive the progress of history and to think critically about the major issues from age to age and the means and methods used to solve them
A perception of the complex nature of history and the multiplicity of disciplines that comprise it and contribute to an understanding of it
A comprehension of the importance of a historical perspective in understanding current issues and problems
And a keener perception of the nuances of historical explanation and a greater precision in the expression of that understanding
Among the specific substantive/content issues addressed are:
The methods of research in history
The major tools and sources that historians use in their research
Methods of organizing research and papers
The terminology of the historical profession
How historians develop their approach to history around themes and concepts
The major philosophies of history
The nature of critical analysis of historical documents
The differences between primary and secondary sources
The distinction between fact and interpretation
The importance of historical evidence and the means of weaving this into a piece of historical writing
To distinguish between objectivity and subjectivity
The impact of personal philosophy and cultural influences on historical interpretation
The class will meet on MF from 0200-0250pm.
There will be four exams for the course. These exams will be made up of multiple choice and written questions, and will be based on the textbook, and other assigned readings, on lectures and class discussions, and on videos shown in class or assigned for viewing outside of class.
The grade for the course will be computed on the basis of your performance on the various exams, the quality of your contributions in class, on class attendance, and on extra credit assignments, in cases where those are allowed. Each of the four exams will carry the same weight. Grades will be based on the following percentages:
Students may be permitted to do special assignments for extra credit. The instructor's decision to permit a student to do these will be based on the student's attendance, constructive contributions in class, and the Instructor's perception of the student's work ethic.† Students deficient in any of these areas will not be permitted to submit work for extra credit.
To be discussed and announced in class.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in class discussions. Your contribution is important for various reasons. First it can indicate to the Instructor where he may need to provide further clarification or more information. Second it helps the student by gaining further explanation, while at the same time it will help fellow students who may be experiencing the same problem.† Third it helps students develop the ability and confidence to express themselves in a group setting, and it will also help them gradually to express themselves with greater clarity, as well as encouraging classmates to do likewise. And fourth it will help engage the class in a group discussion of the issue or problem that is of special benefit because of the various sides of the issue that can emerge and the variety of explanations possible. Finally it makes the student an active participant in the classroom who provokes and stimulates discussion and the search for explanations and understanding rather than a passive recipient of knowledge.††
Honor Code and Plagiarism
Ethics is an important
aspect of the human being. It is indispensable to the effective functioning of
all societies and to reliable and successful relations between all human
beings. Consequently you are expected that all work submitted to the Instructor
as a part of this course be your own, unless otherwise
denoted in footnotes or by some other appropriate means. The University imposes
very severe penalties for plagiarism, so you should be sure to avoid this at
all costs. If you have some doubts about all the different forms and aspects of
plagiarism, you should log on to the
All written work submitted
for this course must follow the bibliographic, footnoting, and quotation style
presented by Kate L. Turabian. Copies of her books on style are in the library
and excerpts and examples are on the
Correct Form for the Term Paper
Follow the Turabian
style and suggestions available on
Bibliographies must follow the style set out by Turabian and available on Duke Universityís and Long Island Universityís web sites which are linked from my web site. Be sure to follow her warning not to cite or list encyclopedias or textbooks in your writings. Also note her comments on the proper title for your bibliography. Once again, be sure in all historical research papers to concentrate on primary sources, using secondary sources mostly as a guide to primary ones and also to familiarize yourself with the major perspectives and interpretations of your topic.
To be announced in class.
A list of the projects for this course will be handed out in class. Some of the projects will be fairly straightforward; others will require considerable time, thought, and analysis. So review the projects early in the course and make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to do a thorough job that is required at the 400 level.