Essay on Historical Methods Discussion

3 pages
560 words
Middlebury College
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Historiography puts into view the telling stories about events that took place in the past and people. It includes gathering facts and ideas and constructing them such that information is adequately presented to its audience (Popkin, 2016). The internet is viewed as the recent tool used by historians in accessing information, and hence one can view it as a historiography tool (William, 2012). It provides a variety of information to historians from both primary and secondary sources and hence maintaining one of its promises. It also allows electronic discussion whereby people can share ideas and their opinions on issues (Presnell, 2007). William (2012) highlights the presence of blogs on the internet. The blogs provide an opportunity for people to share facts and opinions and create a platform where people may make contributions as per their views (William, 2012). From a personal perspective, blogs can be viewed as online debate platforms where people can agree or disagree with issues as presented by bloggers. Another promise is that the internet exhibits equality since anyone can use it to publish content (Presnell, 2007). From a personal perspective, when people want to learn about diversity, laws on racial equality, discrimination laws, the internet becomes an effective tool as the information is readily available.

A pitfall of the internet entails unreliability of sources. William (2012) highlights the presence of sites such as Wikipedia which contain useful information but can be altered based on the interests of people. William (2012) describes Wikipedia as among the most comprehensive internet resources due to its wide-ranging information. The scholar mentions the aspect that the English version of Wikipedia has more than a million penned articles from its visitors and that it has prompted the development of sister sites that include foreign languages. Also, it is used in schools by instructors whereby the instructors encourage the students to create Wikipedia entries on historical events and individuals such that there is a global sharing of historical knowledge among students (William, 2012). It can be perceived that the promise associated with such a site is to produce and maintain information. However, the fact that it allows editing and inclusion of information from its visitors present a pitfall on its credibility. Nonetheless, the scholar explains that there is need to make use of the site even if it cannot be cited as a source (William, 2012). From an individual perspective, sites such as Wikipedia are important when it comes to historical research, but, because of the entries, one needs to compare the information with information from other sources to ensure that it is genuine. I believe that a promise that the site provides is the distinguishing true from false information since it has various users who can point out false information when included in the content. The issue of plagiarism is also another pitfall whereby there are documents online that are uploaded after being plagiarized (Presnell, 2007). In other words, it becomes difficult to ascertain that credibility of a source without engaging in further research. From my perspective, using articles that are peer-reviewed prevents citing unoriginal sources of data.



Williams, R.C. (2012). Historians Toolbox: A Student Guide to the Theory and Craft of History. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Popkin, J.D. (2016). From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Presnell, J.L. (2007). The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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