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Bleg for book recs

5 April, 2011

I’m teaching what used to be our Historiography class next fall. It’s in the process of being turned into a research methods class, with historiography. So I can’t see that ordering Tosh’s Pursuit of History is necessarily appropriate (although I’m up for being convinced otherwise). With or without Tosh (and I’m toying with substituting Bennett’s History Matters there, too), is there any book out there that you think is great for teaching How to Do Research and Write a Paper?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 April, 2011 12:39 pm

    Have you ever looked at They Say/I Say for part of the job (nothing on research)?

  2. 5 April, 2011 2:15 pm

    I've never liked any of the "how to research and write" guides, but they're OK starting places. Shorter ones that frame the questions, so you can fill in the gaps, seem like the way to go. None of them cover digital research well – the publishing cycle's too long! Most important thing is good citation exemplars.

  3. 5 April, 2011 3:38 pm

    As with Steve, I like "They Say/I Say" for explaining how to approach arguments in the field (from conceiving of them to engaging with them).I heard some good things about Anthony Brundage's "Going to the Sources" as a very short, succinct text you could use in conjunction with one or two other books.I wasn't keen on Martha Howell's "From Reliable Sources" which is interesting but pitched at a higher level than our second year students could comfortably manage.

  4. 5 April, 2011 4:37 pm

    My students have liked Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier's From Reliable Sources . It does a really good job on how you evaluate sources. Ideally, it should be supplemented by something that deals with how to ask questions/what makes a good question. When you find that, will you tell me, because I'm teaching our historiography class/how to write a peper (i.e. prepare you for the capstone course) in the fall and I'd love something else…The problem with these books is that they seem elementary to us, and they are.

  5. 5 April, 2011 9:22 pm

    What I liked about They Say/I Say is that it talked in a rather inspiring way about why you might want to write a paper in the first place.

  6. 6 April, 2011 12:36 pm

    I had forgotten about They Say/I say. Thanks, Steve! And I will check into the other two. Susan, and anybody else interested – do you want to perhaps do some sort of online collaboration? I know that Notorious also teaches such a class — we could start out by trying to get people to grab old blog posts about teaching research, and then perhaps start up a group blog or some such to discuss?

  7. 6 April, 2011 9:29 pm

    I recommend, somewhere in your pre-course reading suggestions probably, John Arnold's History: A Very Short Introduction. It is quite brilliant and one of the best history books I've ever read.

  8. 7 April, 2011 9:09 pm

    Ooh — thanks so much for that one, G. I'll put it on my list.

  9. 8 April, 2011 4:39 am

    ADM – -that would be fun. I'd even add my colleague who will teach in the spring…

  10. 8 April, 2011 1:21 pm

    Ooh! 🙂

  11. 14 April, 2011 2:17 pm

    Tosh is actually quite good. It was one of the texts we used in my MA historiography class at SOAS. I would also recommend Marc Bloch's The Historian's Craft. It is short and still holds up well I think.

  12. 23 April, 2011 6:24 am

    Hi There, ADM!Sorry I'm coming so late to this. I'm increasingly less satisfied (would that be "decreasingly satisfied"?) with the book I'm using — Benjamin's "guide to.."somethingorother. It's a great reference source, but it's not engaging as reading material, and I think most of our students don't actually read the assignments. I've also tried "From Reliable sources," but it's pitched just too high for my students.There was a really great one a while ago called "after the fact," but it was specifically targeted to U.S. history.

  13. 23 April, 2011 6:26 am

    Arnold is good, too, if you want to add a mini-component of historiography to your course. He's not a linear writer, but it has six short, easily digestible chapters, and it's inexpensive. I'd be happy to collaborate, but since this is a core course for our department, taught in about 6-8 sections per semester, I've got limited freedom with what I can change. But I've got tons of worksheets and stuff that I'd be happy to share.

  14. 25 April, 2011 5:25 pm

    Notorious — I am so happy you said that! I was going to email you or ply you with yummy things to pick your brain.

  15. 29 April, 2011 5:34 pm

    Is there going to be a (used to be a) blogger get together at Kzoo? (Not meant as snark, but look at your blogroll!)

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