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A Pocket Guide To Writing in History Docx 6 - Summary

Sandra Watson
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Outline: Mary Ann Rampola, “ A Pocket Guide to Writing In History.”
1. Chapter 1
A. Why Study history
 Tells us how we came to be who we are
 Looks at the roots of modern institutions, ideas, values, problems
 Allows us to see our world through different eyes
 Gives us a perspective other than our own
 Allows us to make informed decisions about the future by understanding how complex
problems of our past have shaped our current society
B. Ask Historical Questions
 Who, what, when, where, why
 Lies at the heart of historical thinking and inquiry
 History is not about memorizing facts but interacting with and thinking about the past
 Develop historical thinking skills
C. Use of historical evidence
 Start with the question, who created the document or artifact, who was the intended
audience? For what purpose was the source written? How does the author describe
people? Places? Things?
 Consider the use of language
 Use critical thinking to uncover biases, unspoken points of view or assumptions.
 Make sure your source is relevant to the topic you are studying or considering.
 Is your evidence sufficient to support the point you are trying to make?
 Comparison- never rely on a single source, consider multiple perspectives on the same
event, different genders, religious beliefs, cultural practices, class differences.
 Contextualization- Understand the context under which events occurred.
 Causation- Most events can never be linked to a single cause, avoid simplistic cause and
effect relationships as an explanation of events. Events can be correlated with an
occurrence or event without being the cause. Such as major events can happen in
succession to one another but be unrelated.
 Interpretation- Historians interpret primary sources, so approach secondary sources
with that understanding
 Periodization- The organization of past into segments that share similar characteristics
 Argumentation- evaluate and interpret evidence, then construct an argument supporting
the conclusion that is reached
 Synthesis- analyzing and evaluating multiple sources, examining their relationship to
each other, and developing a new perspective on the topic you are exploring. Develop a
thesis that supports and reflects the conclusion you have reached.
2. Chapter 2
A. Identifying Historical Sources Falls into these 2 catagories
 Primary sources- Materials produced by people or groups directly involved in the event
or topic under consideration, either as a participant or a witness. Provides the evidence
on which historians rely on in order to describe and interpret the past.



A Pocket Guide To Writing in History Docx 6 - Summary

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