History 295

HIST 295
The Historian’s Craft

Catalog Entry

HIST 295
The Historian’s Craft
Three hours lecture: (3)

Prerequisite: Six hours of History at 100 level. History Major.

This seminar will introduce students to the numerous facets of historical inquiry. Basic components of the course center on the nature and philosophy of history; historical interpretation; research, analysis, and writing; and the practical application of history. Its focus is on preparing students for upper-division courses in history while integrating work in their major into their overall university experience.  As a gateway class between the survey-level and upper-division History courses, HIST 295 is intended to be taken by History majors during their second semester sophomore to first semester junior year (before taking more than 6 credits of 300-level HIST courses).

Detailed Description of Content of Course
The core components of History 295, The Historian’s Craft, are composed of three primary parts: the nature of history, the research and writing of history, and the practice of history.
•    Definitions of history and historiography;
•    Introduction of various philosophies of history;
•    How to find and evaluate secondary sources;
•    How to find and evaluate primary sources;
•    How to choose a research topic;
•    How to use printed and electronic research tools;
•    How to take research notes;
•    How to develop an outline
•    How to use source material correctly (quoting, paraphrasing, footnoting);
•    Understanding and avoiding plagiarism;
•    How to write citations and bibliographies;
•    How to develop strong arguments and avoid common errors in grammar and style;
•    How to write reviews, historiographical essays, and research papers;
•    Demonstration of oral competency;
•    Presentations and publications;
•    Careers
Individual professors have the discretion to determine the weight of each of the components for their class.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The nature of “The Historian’s Craft” dictates the use of various teaching methodologies. Some lecture (philosophy of history, historiography, careers in history, etc.) is interspersed with class exercises on conducting research, interpreting sources, formatting footnotes and bibliographies, grammar, etc. Classroom time is also devoted to instructional workshops on electronic sources including database and internet searching. A significant portion of time is set aside for one-on-one student-instructor conferences.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will be able to:
•    hone writing and analytical skills;
•    analyze primary and secondary source material;
•    effectively conduct research searches;
•    master the technical facets of historical writing—bibliographies, citations, and form;
•    understand and avoid plagiarism;
•    provide evidence of oral competence;
•    understand the historical profession and know what careers are available in history;

Assessment Measures

Assessments of the students’ success in mastering historical research, writing, and other facets of the historical profession will be made by evaluating students’ ability to write and discuss analytical pieces on assigned readings or primary source material, formulate proper bibliographies and citations, apply the philosophies of history and historiography, present oral critiques, and synthesize theoretical interpretations of history. Individual professors will determine the exact methods of assessment.

Other Course Information: None

Review and Approval
Date Action Reviewed By
October 2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, Chair