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HISTORICAL RESEARCH METHOD What is History? E.H. Carr: an unending dialogue between the present and the past, a continuous interaction between the historian.

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Presentation on theme: "HISTORICAL RESEARCH METHOD What is History? E.H. Carr: an unending dialogue between the present and the past, a continuous interaction between the historian."— Presentation transcript:

1 HISTORICAL RESEARCH METHOD What is History? E.H. Carr: an unending dialogue between the present and the past, a continuous interaction between the historian and his facts Why? How? Who? Where? When? Effects? Without these questions – no history. a systematic record of actual events of the past The father of History Herodotus (484 – 424 S.M.) –Pelopponesian Wars Thucydides, Panini, Ssu Ma Chien (145 – 111 S.M.) St. Agustine, Raja Ali Haji, Negarakretagama Ibnu Khaldun (1334 – 1406) – Muqaddimah

2 What is Historical Research? There is the positivist and interpretivist paradigms and the critical approach. Historical Research is a collection of various techniques and approaches Mostly – qualitative in nature. Historical Research: a systematic collection and evaluation of data related to past occurrences in order to describe causes, events or trends that may help to explain present events and predict future events. Researcher does not simply say what happened but must explain why these events happened.

3 A systematic, objective location, evaluation and synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions about past events. The historian is inevitably influenced by some philosophy explicitly or implicitly in their interpretation – nationalist, Marxist, colonial, western viewpoint, Islamic viewpoint etc. Positivists say that historical method is not a distinct method – same as Quantitative method: can still use quantitative methods like variables, hypothesis testing, analysis of quantitative data, discover generalisations etc. But Historical Research often uses case studies and qualitative data, focuses on culture, see through eyes of those being studied, reconstructs the lives of people and groups: thick descriptions from ethnography and cultural anthropology.

4 WHY HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN EDUCATION? 1. Unique quality : ability to employ the past to predict the future. Important in education. Development of policy – insights to educational problem, solutions to contemporary problems can be sought through an examination of the past. 2. Historical study of an idea or institution help us understand the present edu system. Basis for progress – understand how the present system cam about. 3. Shows how edu theories and practices developed. A powerful method of addressing questions such as: How did the major changes take place? What caused the changes? 4. Use former practices to evaluate new and emerging ones.

5 5. Recurrent themes can be easily identified and assessed 6. Better understanding of relationships between politics and education. 7. Allows for re-evaluation of data on selected hypothesis, theory, generalisation.

6 8. The literature review that empirical researchers undertake is A KIND OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH – reconstructs what has been done in the past on a particular topic of interest/research area. 9. H.R. has features of normative & interpretive approaches – quest for objectivity, minimise bias and distortion – describe all aspects of a situation – search for the whole truth. 10. to unfold the development of events and objectively evaluate and weigh all evidence in arriving at the most tenable conclusion. 11. To discover new knowledge – new perspective, to correct, clarify, and expand existing knowledge,

7 R. Santhiram (1996) Malaysian Educational Development: A Study in Inter-ethnic Relations in Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies, Vol. XIII, No. 2. March 1996. R. Santhiram (2006) Education in Pre-Western Brunei in Fifty Years of Teacher Education in Brunei Darussalam. (1956 – 2006). SHBIE, UBD, Brunei. Stephen Upex (2006) The History of Education in Brunei, 1911 – 1980s. In Fifty Years of Teacher Education in Brunei Darussalam. (1956 – 2006). SHBIE, UBD, Brunei.

8 Examples of Research statements This study attempts to provide an analysis of the development of Malaysian education between 1955 – 1970. The emphasis is on the development that led to the implementation of the national language policy in schools following the ethnic crisis of May, 1969. This exercise aims at tracing the development of history teaching in the English medium schools in Peninsular Malaysia through the syllabuses and the textbooks used and see how relevant it was to the nation in terms of promoting an awareness of the national heritage and national unity.

9 Historical research method – not merely gathering significant facts about a major event in a chronological manner It is the interpretation of facts Historical Researcher: not just to say what happened but TO EXPLAIN WHY THESE EVENTS HAPPENED.

10 (We need the knowledge of the past to understand the present. We can understand the circumstances involved in the evolution of the current educational system as well as the practices and approaches that have been found to be ineffective.) We cannot affect the events of the past. What has happened has happened. Our sources are not written specifically for use in a research project! Historians do not create data like other researchers who use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to create data. We work with available data; In most cases all our actors are dead and gone!! 10. to unfold the development of events and objectively evaluate and weigh all evidence in arriving at the most tenable conclusion 11. To discover new knowledge – new perspective, to correct, clarify, and expand existing knowledge,

11 SIMILARITIES BETWEEN QUALITATIVE AND HISTORICAL RESEARCH Both recognise the researchers point of view is unavoidable--interpretation. Both examine a great diversity of data – immersed in the data to gain an insight. Both use grounded theory – begin with no fixed hypothesis – emerges during data collection and analysis. Both involve a kind of translation for others to read. For both – generalisation and theory are limited because it based on selective facts and specific questions.

12 What are the features unique to Historical Research? 1. Choice of subject: Define the problem. Not many problems can be analysed through Historical Research – lack of data etc Instead of hypothesis a set of questions or aims of study may be substituted. Common forms: development of the edu. policy, biography of a leading educationist, teachings of a renowned educationist, development of educational ideas that have influenced edu. practices, development of educational programmes and their impact on society. 2. Data collection: Must deal with data that is available. We cannot affect the events of the past; WHAT HAS HAPPENED HAS HAPPENED. We cannot create data, manipulate or control variables. Most of our sources may be already DEAD!! So direct observation is not possible.

13 Our sources: references, libraries, books, articles, official Reports, archival materials, Education Acts, Annual Reports on Education, Ministry of Education Reports, artifacts, oral histories, documents, letters, language, customs, institutions, interviews with actual participants. So our sources are not written specifically for us! Considerable amount of detective work has to done by researcher. Primary sources and secondary sources Primary sources: first hand information from participants, official documents, running records, artifacts. Secondary sources: sources other than first hand records

14 Literature Review: In other research, it provides the preparatory stage of data collection BUT in Historical Research: its function is different. IT PROVIDES THE DATA FOR THE RESEARCH. No formal section on Lit. Rev. It may run through the entire research Sometimes Historical Research may look like a massive Literature Review!! Evaluation: Objectivity in Quantitative Research- a given thing. But in Historical Research – same evidence different meanings!! What are the checks and balances for a rigorous scientific analysis? How do we get reliable and validated data that is trustworthy?

15 Historical Criticism External criticism: to determine the authenticity and genuineness of data Internal criticism: to determine the accuracy and worth of data Take a document: When written? Where was it written? Why did it survive? Who was the real author? Take a document: Eyewitness or secondhand account? Why was it written? Literal meaning? Internal consistency? Connotations? Meaning in context?

16 Writing the Research Report: Data has been gathered; internal and external criticisms have been undertaken. Process of synthesis takes place Answering the questions, reviewing the aims. If analysis is too shallow, look for evidence etc.

17 Steps in Historical Research: 1. Conceptualising the object of inquiry 2. Locating evidence 3. Evaluating the quality of evidence 4. Organising the evidence 5. Synthesising 6. Writing the report.

18 Criteria for evaluating Historical Research 1. Problem: clearly defined; is it difficult enough to conduct a research? Is the researcher competent? Is the problem capable of a solution? 2. Data: completeness of data : primary and secondary sources 3. Analysis: adequately explored? 4. Interpretation: mastery of data and insight; historical perspective and researchers objectivity; are the Research questions plausible? Adequately tested – relationship between data and other historical facts? 5. Presentation: style of writing; does it make a contribution to knowledge? Is it simply an uninspired hackwork? Or reflect scholarliness?


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