Historiography is the study of how historical interpretation has evolved.  Traditionally, this has meant an intense analysis of academic writings and a careful examination of how they tend to build on (or sometimes oppose) each other.  Modern-day undergraduates, however, can probably benefit from embracing a more expansive definition of historiography, one that also includes the study of classroom teaching and public history.  Here are some helpful guidelines for approaching and researching different types of historiographical questions:

Academic History

  • Rely on high quality reference sources to help identify important books and articles.
  • Learn how to peruse notes in academic scholarship to identify historiographical references
  • Become familiar with tools such as reviews, review essays, and state-of-the-field essays

Classroom History

  • Learn how to identify and assess textbooks, standards, and curriculum sources
  • Seek out specialized pedagogy journals, blogs, and other resources on teaching practices
  • Understand how to use surveys and studies for evaluations of teaching & learning trends

Public History

  • Understand different categories of public history presentation (museums, sites, cultural, etc.)
  • Learn how to be creative in evaluating the public interpretative process
  • Reflect on the meaning of memory and heritage as components of historical thinking


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