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History forms a crucial aspect of humanity, and as a result, you will find, as a discipline right from high school, up to college or university level. The scope and technical level always increases as a student advances through the academic ladder. Therefore the level required of a student while in high school will significantly differ from what a professor requires of a history student at the postgraduate or doctorate level.

Comprehending both aspects when it comes to the history of your area of interest besides understanding the social, political, and cultural era of a specific study text depends on knowing and reading history. History aims at gathering evidence about the past, evaluating the evidence under the temporal latitude of the study period, before accessing how the evidence backs our comprehension of the period in question.

University students pursuing history as a program or discipline will have to understand specific principles of research and history as a whole. It stems from the need to write history research papers as part of their curricula, and a way of qualifying them for the degree program they have themselves enrolled in. As such, students have to comprehend the research strategies entailed in humanities, besides the historical methodologies involved with such. So what historical methodologies exist in the scope of research strategies involved with humanities?

Historical Methodologies in Research Strategies

Historical research heavily relies on diverse types of sources, and these include, primary, secondary, and verbalized tradition.

Primary sources

Primary data sources provide direct access to a research’s subject. It gives raw evidence and first-hand information concerning a historical subject under research and can entail statistical data, artworks, interview transcripts, etc.  

Eyewitness accounts. Can come in the form of written or oral testimonies. Most of such testimonies can become available in legal documents or public records, newspapers, letters, diaries, a meeting’s minutes, artifacts like billboards, posters, drawings, papers, etc.

You can always find eyewitness accounts of either form near your university special collections or archives, historical society, or confidentially owned collections.

Secondary sources

Secondary data sources prove scholarly critiques and interpretations of a historical period that your study focuses on. Such data gets collected by individuals who do not come in the shape of the primary user. Sources prove diverse under this category and can include journal articles, which analyze or comment on research, textbooks, political commentary, dissertations, biographies, opinion pieces, etc.

However, the study of contemporary history comes with a marked difference between secondary and primary data sources. In past periods, including the medieval and ancient times, the distinction between secondary and primary data sources proved unclear.

Some primary sources can become secondary sources based on the context of use. As such, you can get secondary sources either as write-ups or oral submissions. Here, you can get the secondary sources of information in the form of encyclopedias, textbooks, newspapers, journal articles, biographies, media- like tape recordings and films, etc. 

Oral tradition

It proves a crucial data source for African history in as much as it attracts controversy sometimes when it comes to its credibility as a source. Crucial and interesting issues get raised when it comes to the use and challenges of such a data source. For instance, oral sources prove a fresh body of information, enormous in volume, and awaiting to unlock a significant portion of untapped history.

Oral tradition entails cultural narratives like legends, myths, and origin stories that orally get passed down from one generation to the next as cultural information. It can include information that comes as personal narratives or oral testimonies.

The importance of oral tradition as an information source and a contributor to history cannot get lost to most active and practicing historians.


History comes as a markedly different discipline to subjects, for instance, under STEM. Therefore, the methodologies involved in doing research, including information and data collection, prove distinct. For this reason, you have to consider the research strategies involved in humanities to do and produce quality research.  

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