10 Words Every History Researcher Should Know


Those clever folks at Grammarly have published a wonderful list of “10 words every college student should know.”  For certain, they’re 10 words every history researcher should know.  Here’s our take on them …

1. Corroborate

Don't just fly with whatever you see that 'proves' whatever you want to believe.

2. Disparate

The kind of sources we need—sources of widely differing types, whose information doesn’t just parrot each other.

3. Extrapolate

What we need to do with each finding—because broadening the possibilities leads to more hypotheses we can pursue until our objective is solidly proved.

4. Laconic

Of course, our writing need to be brief, concise, and pithy—expressing much in as few words as possible.

5. Pedantic

Being scrupulous, precise, and meticulous is the hallmark of a reliable researcher.

6. Pragmatic

Reliability also means that we deal with evidence sensibly and realistically, avoiding the temptation to settle for theoretical possibilities.

7. Quintessential

Ah, yes. Wouldn’t we love it if every work of history was an example of quality and class?

8. Salient

Our proof arguments must always focus on the points most relevant to the question our ‘argument’ tries to answer. Including everything-but-the-kitchen-sink will just sink the argument

9. Spurious

False, deceptive, and misleading assertions are a curse we place on future generations who trustingly believe us.

10. Syntax

Following those nitpicking rules we learned way back in Miss Thistlebottom’s grammar classes helps us arrange our words in a sensible fashion. That way, our conclusions are understood well enough that future generations don’t place a curse on us.

So what two words would you like to add to this list to make it an even dozen?


2 December 2017


Adapted from "Talia Holding Books by Chalkboard," PresenterMedia (http://www.presentermedia.com/index.php?target=closeup&id=20942&categoryid=139&maincat=clipart : accessed 2 December 2017), item 20942, used under license.



Elizabeth Shown Mills, "10 Words Every History Researcher Should Know," QuickTips: The Blog at Evidence Explained.com (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/10-words-every-history-researcher-should-know : posted 2 December 2017).