Analysis

 
 
 

The Disciplined Researcher's 20-Question Guide

What is your success rate as a researcher? Does every effort advance your goals or bring you closer to resolving a specific research problem? Do you invest hours that generate no relevant information at all? Do record sets and databases never seem to yield the needed answers to your key questions about events and identities, associations, and relations? Or have you amassed great quantities of data that remind you of the Shakespearean line about “much sound and fury, signifying nothing”? ...

Textual Criticism

Criticism? Who wants to be critical? We do. Or we should. Criticism, used appropriately, is a powerfully positive force. The critical evaluation of all material we use for authenticity and credibility—aka textual criticism—is ...

A Proof Argument? Why Bother?

18 March 2015
A recent discussion of proof arguments triggered a common question: Why can’t we just ‘let the documents do the talking’? Unfortunately, documents don’t talk. They may lie, but they do not talk and they cannot ...

Best Practices for Reliable Research

2 December 2014
In every piece of dependable research, we see eight qualities ...

Analyzing Records to Find Our Answers

26 November 2014
We have a research problem. Records of the right type exists for the time and place. We search them, page by page. No record has the information we seek. What then? We have two choices ...

A Basic Vocabulary for Historical Research

24 September 2014
Every field has its distinctive vocabulary. The word "document," for example, evokes a quite-different expectation in the mind of one who does historical research vis à vis, say, a software architect. The following basic vocabulary is ...

Information Is Not Knowledge

29 August 2014
Contrary to the old cliché, facts do not speak for themselves. Facts are chameleons whose shape and color reflect their handlers. A beginning researcher and a skilled one can read the same information in a record
and draw two separate conclusions, based upon ...

Analyzing Compiled Material "On the Fly"

27 June 2014
You have accumulated a body of "findings" about an issue you are investigating—or you have received one from another researcher. Have you streamlined a process for analyzing that material to identify its weaknesses, warts, and opportunities? Here's one that may help ...

Using Evidence—A Four-Step Process

17 June 2014
As researchers, we move from inquiry to conclusion in a four-step process. Below, we give you three of those steps. What do you think is missing? ...

Great Tutorials—Analyzing Historical Documents

6 June 2014
"Documents are liars," according to Lawrence of Arabia. Certainly, they can deceive us—even when the creator did not intend to be deceptive. So, how do we get within reasonable distance of reality, when we peer into the past through so many warped lenses? ...

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