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Historical Research Methods: Historiography

What is Historiography?

Historiography relates to the study of writing history. It "describes historical arguments, theories, and interpretations over time, how schools of thought on particular events change over time".                                                (The Historian's Toolbox, 2012)

How to Create a Historiography

Once you pick a topic, there are 3 main steps to creating a historiography:

Step 1: Evaluate the stances of your chosen authors 

  • Book Reviews: a great way to learn the author's point of view. They also give insight into how reviewers respond to the author's argument.
  • Books: notice how the book is structured. How does the author build his/her argument? What is the most important part? 
  • Edited Books: notice the general theme of the book. What is the editor's argument? It's usually demonstrated by the combined scope of the articles.  
  • Articles: determine the importance of the article to its field. To do this, learn how frequently the article is cited by authors writing about the same topic (use the "Cited by" link in Google Scholar:

Step 2: Develop an annotated bibliography

  • Keep track of your sources with Zotero ( or Easy Bib ( 

Step 3: Write your historiography (3 options)

  • Write in chronological order, tracing changes in the field over time. 
  • Discuss major schools of thought that surround your topic. 
  • Address the work of historians as they relate to your own analysis. 

Examples of Historiography

Search Terms: keyword(s) AND Historiography