Write a Script Explaining Research Methods in Your Disciplinary Area: History Assignment, UQ, Australia

University UQ
Subject History


Write a script explaining research methods in your disciplinary area, (modern history), to an audience of people outside of your disciplinary area. (using some emerging concepts: empirical, quantitative, qualitative, when they are relevant to your disciplinary area)


“Historians: well, there are many different approaches to history. What type of history have you been studying? Often historical methodologies are based on the type of sources (historians don’t usually call it data) that you are studying. For example, the historians you are studying may have focused on archives relating to a given subject area. Why have they done that? How do they justify it? Or they made read government policy. They may create or access oral histories, Why collect oral histories? How? Or some historians work with objects or images. Look for references that discuss a specific methodological approach.”

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Every discipline has methods (some agreed upon, some contested) with an ideological basis. How can you explain yours in terms of data or sources, tools, techniques, and methodologies? How can you explain these methods in an interesting way that someone from another discipline could understand, and even if the person in that other discipline might not want to be in your discipline, or use your methods, can you help them understand what YOU do?

The rationale for this is that the research methods in your disciplinary area are what you’re becoming an expert at. So, for example, instead of talking about what you do on a subject basis. Such as: “I consider authorship attribution in Shakespearean texts through measuring authorial style by extending stylometry into computational statistics; counting and comparing the use of words in texts – which is what Hugh Craig does (as you will discover later in the course) – this assessment on methods is asking you to break down your disciplines methods to make sense of them.

Professor Craig is a literary scholar who uses empirical, quantitative tools and techniques because this allows a different, more specific truth about patterns of authorship to resolve disputes over, say, whether Shakespeare wrote what we think Shakespeare wrote.

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