Research Methods in History
Time Allowed: THREE HOURS
(1) What steps should a historian take in the critical evaluation of archival sources?
(2) 'The facts of history cannot be purely objective, since they become facts of history only by virtue of the significance attached to them by the historian' (E.H. Carr). Discuss.
(3) History is a 'parade of signifiers masquerading as a collection of facts' (Roland Barthes). Discuss.
(4) 'The best theories owe their appeal to the fact that they acknowledge and seek to elucidate the reciprocal relationship of action and structure'. Discuss.
(5) How useful is Said's concept of Orientalism to historical research on Asia or Africa?
(6) How useful is gender as an analytical category in historical research?
(7) 'The study of history is a personal matter, in which the activity is generally more valuable than the result' (V.H. Galbraith). Discuss.
(8) Discuss the problems involved in the study of 'history from below'.
(9) 'The bounty of the past provides individual instances aplenty to support virtually any general proposition. It is only too easy to beat history over the head with the blunt instrument of a hypothesis and leave an impression.' Discuss.
(10) What particular problems can arise from a heavy dependence upon the use of oral sources?