An analysis of purpose of history and study of historians

History How to Analyze a Primary Source When you analyze a primary source, you are undertaking the most important job of the historian. There is no better way to understand events in the past than by examining the sources--whether journals, newspaper articles, letters, court case records, novels, artworks, music or autobiographies--that people from that period left behind. Each historian, including you, will approach a source with a different set of experiences and skills, and will therefore interpret the document differently. Remember that there is no one right interpretation.

An analysis of purpose of history and study of historians

The Abramic religions are essentially historical and encourage the study of history because they believe God has revealed Himself in time. By contrast history is essentially disregarded by Yogic religions.

Fundamentally history involves a process of interpreting the past based on evidence available in the present. This entails using accounts inherited from earlier times. Although each generation re-interprets history in light of contemporary questions, history claims a scientific status through its careful use of sources and the weighing of evidence.

The most common mistake made by history students and, occasionally, well established historians is to project views and opinions common in one era back onto an earlier era. This cannot legitimately be done without strong evidence that those views and opinions were held at the earlier time.

In particular people are prone to project contemporary assumptions onto the past. Another very common error is to assume that a short passage of time makes little or no difference to the intellectual climate of the time.

In fact in political, social and other spheres of life ten years can make a very big difference particularly when dealing with modern history. The historian cannot assume that something, which was commonly believed by people in England inwas shared with people who lived in The modern history of Germany shows how difficult it is to generalize about the past.

For example the popular A History of Germany. The book ends by saying that Germans "know the value of peace, and pray that it may long continue" [2]. Since the Second World War it has been very difficult to find an English book which expresses such sentiments. Therefore, it is important to recognize the different sources used by historians and the value which can be placed upon them.

Historiography - Wikipedia

But, before discussing particular types of source material it must be 0very clearly recognized that all sources are biased. Therefore, the historian must recognize the outlook of the source and take it into account when using it as evidence.

The major types of sources recognized by historians can be classified as follows: These are the earliest available accounts of an event which are used by later writers to interpret that event. They are the raw material used by other writers to provide them with information and data.

An analysis of purpose of history and study of historians

In using primary sources it is important to recognize the value judgements made by the people who wrote them and the intent of the author in writing the original document. Types of primary sources: These are works that discusses a subject either from a great distance or after the event on the basis of second-hand or even more remote information.

Secondary sources provide interpretations and make judgements about primary sources. When using secondary sources it is important to realize that the account they give, even when it involves lengthy quotations from primary sources, may not be accurate.

Secondary sources can be used to understand primary sources but must not be confused with them. Several cautions need to be observed when working with secondary sources. The most important are: Secondary sources as primary sources: Sometimes a secondary source may be used as a primary source for information about the period when the secondary source was written.

Thus, Mill's History of India [3] is a secondary source for Indian history but a primary source for anyone wanting to understand James Mill's thinking about India.

James Mill, History of India, London,] 2. Are anthologies primary or secondary sources? Anthologies such as Peter Gay's The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology [4]contains short extracts from a large number of published primary sources.

As such it is very useful to students but it must be used with great care and not confused with true primary sources.

The problem is that the reader must trust that the editor's selection of material, in this case Gay's, is representative of the subject, i. The reader must also accept that wherever translations are used from French or German sources the translations are accurate.

Similarly, books like Coward, Dargyay and Neufeldt's Readings in Eastern Religions [5], introduce students to the feel of primary sources but are not a true primary source.2 The Rise of Historical/Comparative Research: Motivations • Political/Social Context of Social Change in the 20th Century – Totalitarianism in Germany and Russia.

Historian - Wikipedia

Like so many kinds of writing about art, historical analysis became the subject of sustained investigation during the 19th century by scholars writing in German.

The book begins with a statement of his purpose: An important older art historical study of the nude is by Kenneth Clark (), who created a distinction still used today. Introduction to art historical analysis How to do visual (formal) analysis But since works of art and architecture often survive for centuries, art historians may also study a work’s cultural significance at later historical moments.

Historically, many works of art and nearly all architecture were intended to serve some purpose beyond. The aims and purpose of history can be evaluated through the study of historians and their audiences.

The differing methods of collecting and using sources and evidence has caused countless debates between historians and other academics from Herodotus, the 'Father of History' to G.R Elton and his views on objective truth.


A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history .

An analysis of purpose of history and study of historians

The major purpose of writing a historiographical paper is to convey the scholarship of other historians on a particular subject, rather than to analyze the subject itself. A historiography can be a stand-alone paper, in which case your paper examines the work completed by other historians.

An analysis of purpose of history and study of historians