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In a historiography paper, the author critiques, evaluates, and summarizes how historians have approached, discussed, and debated certain topics over time. Scholars who work with the same historical records and archival materials can often come away from their research with vastly different opinions about why things happened the way they did. In some cases, historians who study the same sources are not even interested in the same topics or people!
This variety of approaches is precisely why we write historiographies. Historians arrive at such different conclusions for many esxay. One is that historians are individuals with unique experiences, and our experiences and identities often affect how we approach our work.
Historians are also influenced by social, cultural, political, and technological events in their lifetimes.
For example, the introduction of computers allowed historians to use more quantitative data in their research, while social and political developments e. Your job is then to explain why and how the history of a particular subject has been written the way it has.
Writing historiography is a lot like writing a literature review. For this reason, many of the links and resources in this LibGuide will direct you towards existing Library resources for writing literature reviews.
Parts of a historiographic essay
Your instructor might leave the approach up to you or they might encourage you to write a specific kind ii historiography. For example, your paper might:. Depending on the nature of your paper and argument, you might end up combining some of these approaches, for example, by dividing your paper chronologically and discussing the branches of history that were popular during each period.]