Historiographical Paper



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Historiographical Paper
Information from Dr. D. Neal, Department of History, Nipissing University
A historiographical paper is not a research paper. It critically examines existing scholarship relevant to a given subject. A good historiographical paper does this by:


  • explaining clearly the theoretical and historiographical aspects of the topic;

  • addressing a wide range of relevant scholarship, including the most recent publications;

  • identifying the questions historians have used to address this topic;

  • calling the reader’s attention to the development of scholarship over time ( how newer work builds on older work)

  • pointing out differences of opinion between authors;

  • comparing scholarship with respect to theoretical approach, use of evidence, and argument;

  • indicating what aspects of the topic remain unaddressed, and suggesting reasons why. This is where you can make your own carefully chosen and sensibly limited comments.

Note: a review should be based on a survey of at least 10 secondary sources. These may be journal articles, essays in books, or monographs. More is not necessarily better.


Make sure you use a consistent and correct bibliographic citation format.
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Here is another definition of a historiographical paper:


A historiography paper is an essay that analyses the different ways in which various historians have approached a historical topic. Unlike a research paper, a historiography paper is not a study of a historical subject; instead, it is an examination of how scholars’ interpretations of history and historical events have changed over time. A historiography paper should give a detailed overview of the major works of scholarship on a topic, and it should summarize, evaluate, and critique the arguments of each of those works.
Here are a few sources you might check to help you understand this kind of paper:
www.cgu.edu/pages/840.asp

www.writing.ku.edu/~writing/guides/historiography.shtml


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