Historiography is the study of how history is written and how our understanding of history changes over time. Historiography definition
This study considers the approaches used by historians and seeks to understand how and why their theories and interpretations differ.
While the past itself never changes, the writing of history is always evolving. New historians explore and interpret the past.
They develop new theories and conclusions that can change the way we understand the past. Historiography recognizes and discusses this process of change .
Overall, it is a difficult and complex study. It is an important component of most university history courses, where students are expected to know about the past and how it has been interpreted over time.
Today, many elementary and high school courses include some basic historiography, often through the study of different historians and competing historical interpretations. Historiography definition
What is the difference between history and historiography?
Historiography is the study of the best ways of interpreting historical sources and the ways in which history is written (historical investigation and the history of history).
History is what is written about the past, with the aim of making it as close as possible to what happened.
What is the purpose and importance of historiography?
To understand historiography, one must first realize that understanding the past is not immune from criticism, challenge, or revision. Historiography definition
One must also understand the critical difference between historical facts (situations presented conclusively by evidence and accepted as true) and history (the human study and interpretation of these situations).
The past certainly contains millions of truths or concrete facts, such as:
- Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth in 1865;
- The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941;
- Germany was dominated by rampant hyperinflation in 1923;
- Brazil went through a period of military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985.
On the available evidence, these facts are indisputable. Taken from a restrictive point of view, however, they can be isolated or meaningless. Historiography definition
The historian’s role is to make sense of these facts through research and analysis . To do this, they examine and interpret evidence, form conclusions, develop theories and articulate their findings in writing.
Historians must answer many questions, including:
- How and why certain actions, events or ideas arose (causes);
- The results of certain actions, events or ideas (effects or consequences);
- Contributions made by different people and groups (actions);
- The relative importance or impact of different people, groups or ideas (meaning);
- Situations that have changed and others that have remained the same over a period of time (change and continuity). Historiography definition
Unlike the physical sciences, history yields many different answers to the same question. Historians often study the same sets of facts but end up arriving at different explanations or conclusions.
It is from this moment that the historiographical study arrives, analyzing the interpretations of a specific topic written by historians, about the past.
Specifically, a historiography identifies influential thinkers and reveals the shape of scholarly debate on a given topic. Historiography definition
The main purpose of writing a historiographical article is to convey the understanding of other historians about a particular subject, rather than analyzing the subject itself.
Alternatively, a historiography can act as an introduction to a major research paper, to which you will add your own analysis. Thus, a good historiography does the following:
- Points to influential books and articles that exemplified, shaped, or revolutionized a field of study;
- It shows which academics were most effective in changing the scope of the debate;
- Describes current trends in the field of study.