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 Definition Study of past human events based on evidence such as written documents. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category History [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant British English

Are you planning to discuss other methods with the satisfying depth combined with concision you showed for Ibn Khaldun? Or do you propose him as the general model.DavidGoodman 20:56, 2 November 2006 (CST)


Shouldn't this entire entry be scrapped and re-conceived from the ground up? There is no generally recognized 'historical method'. There are people who think that there is a continuous tradition of historical 'thought' (such as Donald Kelley), but they essentially disregard economic history or other efforts to make history more continuous with the sciences. André Carus 02:50, 18 November 2006 (CST)

We should, because this is really a horrible article. I rewrote the opening paragraph to avoid it being re-imported. I'll suggest that a rewrite follow some sort of a plan. E.g.

  1. (Short) Etymology
  2. Materials used by historians (types of sources)
  3. Methods of analysing sources
  4. Types of historical descriptions (subject matter, scope, holistic and historicist approaches versus subject matter driven, etc.)
  5. Methods of relying the "narrative" (following a course of events, or following a development of some idea or approach)
  6. Approaches to valuing historical descriptions

Ori Redler 10:32, 18 November 2006 (CST)

I attempt to implant the sctructure suggest by Ori Redler, for now parts of the original article are broken between these categories - these parts must be rewritten. The thema is ver yextent, and i start by rewritting some topics; i began by "Sources used by historians" and by "Etymology" (i also import the WP-article about this etymology).

L'Astorina 21:09, 02 Semptember 2007 (CST)

Wikipedia credit

There is just one sentence that appear exactly the same in Wikipedia. Does it formally imply that we check "Wikipedia content" credit box? Looks like a joke? Hmmm... Maybe we just reword it? Here it goes:

  • The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history.

--AlekStos 15:26, 28 March 2007 (CDT)

Reword it. --Larry Sanger 11:49, 7 April 2007 (CDT)


Is this brief article about an enormous subject really "developed"? --Larry Sanger 11:49, 7 April 2007 (CDT)

I changed status to 2; when I added the Article Checklist, I didn't spend enough time looking at the article, but I do agree it needs more work, and keeping it at 2 encourages that.


I cant find any Annalist- Mentality- or Microhistorical chools nomination? --Alexius Manfelt 05:01, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Subject matter

Just a thought, but it seems odd that the article says "This article discusses historiography, the writing of history by scholars and specialists". Surely it should discuss history and there should be a separate article for historiography since it's a separate (much more modern) concept. A Larter 12:14, 13 June 2007 (CDT)

I was just stopping in to say the same thing.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 12:51, 18 September 2007 (CDT)
well it's hard to compress all of human history into 2000 words. Allocate 50 words for the Reformation? 100 words on the entire 19th century? Calvin Coolidge once compressed all of US history into 750 words that were supposed to go on Mt Rushmore--he wrote the words but they were never chiseled in place. On the other hand we can map out what historians actually do, which is the goal here.


I removed a lot of poorly phrased Wikipedia stuff. Richard Jensen 06:15, 16 November 2007 (CST)

Continued Reoganization

I have tried reorganize the subsection "Types of Historical Description", by showng a generic division in the major subfields of de discipline. I think the apresentation of much specific subfields should be explored not in this article, but in the articles of specific fields. By the general division i have had needs much more improvement and explanations. Also, i retired things such Quantitative History and Paleography because i think was better put this in the subsection "Types of Historical Sources". L'Astorina 08:49, 25 November 2007 (CST)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

sorry for the modifications, but that section was a remained part of that version that everybody agree it must change. And i have done no much more that simply organize that topics. A section was erased and substituted for the editor by "National Debates" withaout be quoted here, but a renarganization of topic is not possible. And again, sorry for my english problems, i could be simply corrected them. And where i can acess my modfied version? L'Astorina 09:15, 25 November 2007 (CST)

Whatever, i suggest organize that subsection "Types of Historical Description", by showng a generic division in the major subfields of de discipline, in place of a simple list of generic denomination. I think there is possible two divisions: fields organized by time and place, and fields organized by approach (political, economical, social, cultural, intelectual history, etc.). I think also Quantitative History and Paleography remains better in the subsection about Types of Sources. What about it? L'Astorina 09:24, 25 November 2007 (CST)

Undone modifications

The editor Richard Jensen has simply undone my modifications (which consists just a reoranization of a subsection), saying just i must write on Talk Page before make it. I think it is not a just action of an editor. Or, in the words of the article about Professionalism on CZ, "If I spend ten minutes working on a page, and you simply undo my changes, you render my time spent pointless--which is tantamount to the claim that I spend significant time doing pointless things". No one says nothing? L'Astorina 09:42, 25 November 2007 (CST)

the problem is that much of the reorganization is faulty and does not conform to modern historiography. Richard Jensen 11:14, 25 November 2007 (CST)
i have attempted to divide in the major fields historically stablished. But in fact it was just first attempt to organize that section - much better that just a list of different things, in any case. It was great if a more precise categorization was done. L'Astorina 11:27, 25 November 2007 (CST)
Well thanks for jumping in. I added some more categories. Take a look at the American historical review at [1]to see what historians are doing these days. Richard Jensen 11:47, 25 November 2007 (CST)
Right, i just have a weak worry about things like these classifications reflects just the U.S. configuration field. But for now i have nothing to tell about it, just a weak worry. L'Astorina 12:03, 25 November 2007 (CST)
Humm... in this sense, i have added a comment abouty marxist historiography in topics of economical history. Here in Latin America the marxist historiography have dominated during troughout the didactorial governments - that's it, till begin of 90's. However, much of historiography here in Brazil - and stronger in many small countries at Caribe - is influenced by an economical marxist theory. For example, in latin and iberic discussion about the colonial system. L'Astorina 12:16, 25 November 2007 (CST)
good point,. you should add a section on Marxist history. Richard Jensen 12:20, 25 November 2007 (CST)

Types of Historical Description

I still think that hte multiple topics of this section must be better organized. We have already three categories: fields by date and place, fields by approach and fields closely related - the second seems to be the one in that the fields are more disorganized. Can't we include some of the topics into major topics (like history of Science, subtopic of History of Ideas)? E. g. Isn't Diplomatic History a subfield of Political History? And Military History, i't a subfield of any major field in which we can include it? Urban History into Cultural History? And what about Labor History?

L'Astorina 16:18, 15 December 2007 (CST)

the fields are set up to match the organizations that historians form and the journals they write for. Thus we have special journals in urban, military, diplomatic, business, economic, social, etc. Please look at the American Historical review to get a sense of how historians divide themselves. Richard Jensen 18:46, 15 December 2007 (CST)
yeah, but it is normal make journals of specific themes that can be englobe in a major related one. For example, existing a journal osf theoretical physics and a journal of theory of strings don't means that string's studies is not a subfield of theoretical physics. L'Astorina 18:54, 15 December 2007 (CST)


I tried to write a more abrangent introduction to the article, but i don't know if it's abangent enough. L'Astorina 17:34, 15 December 2007 (CST)

I think it's wise to read numerous history books before jumping in. Start with the bibliography. Richard Jensen 18:52, 15 December 2007 (CST)
Sorry, are you accusing me of don't reading enough or not be competent to write in Citizendium? L'Astorina 18:57, 15 December 2007 (CST)
both, I'm afraid. We expect authors to have years of experience in history. Richard Jensen 19:04, 15 December 2007 (CST)
so i, despite my interest and my few readings (sure, not so many reaadings as you and others with many years of experience), therefore must be marked as "incompetent" and should don't edit any more at citizendium unti years after? This is exclusively to 40-years-up authors? Because i am not warned of it when i joined on Citizendium... L'Astorina 19:07, 15 December 2007 (CST)
I think that some of the problem comes from your rather shaky grasp of written English, especially as it must be used in an encyclopedia. You are attempting to write about complex subjects, using occasionally complex language, and your English sometimes fails you. In your lede, for instance, you were very wordy, frequently using words and phrases that were not quite correct, and it is *very* difficult to correct such writing. Generally speaking, it is easy to simply rewrite the entire business. I myself know this from *long* experience, trying to copyedit French friends who speak *very* colloquial English but whose *written* English is frequently opaque and very difficult to render into correct form. For instance, in the discussion above you use "abrangent" and "abangent", neither of which is even close to being an English word. (And I don't know anything in French that resembles it either.) I don't want to chase you away from CZ, or to give you the impression that I am trying to do so -- I think that you would, for the moment, be better suited to writing strictly fact-filled narratives in a simple, straightforward method. Any English failings can, in that case, be more easily corrected. With best wishes for your continuing efforts.... Hayford Peirce 19:21, 15 December 2007 (CST)
Ok, and my difficulty with English makes me incompetent to, for example, split a list of historian, which was my last modification?L'Astorina 19:27, 15 December 2007 (CST)
again my modifications are indicriminately undoned. In former discussions there were consensual that parts of this article should be changed. I just make, again, a first attempt, and you ever undone!! In spiter of it, make one better!!!! L'Astorina 19:22, 15 December 2007 (CST)


I think the "catalog of historian by area of study" is now too long, so i've splitted it into three:

  • List of historians by area of study
  • List of historians by historical viewpoint
  • List of national historians

Despite an editor undone part of this, any objection? L'Astorina 19:04, 15 December 2007 (CST)

this won't do--it's too artificial and not based on what actual historians actually do. Richard Jensen 19:05, 15 December 2007 (CST)
ok, but any editor has any suggestion to solve the problem of so long index and list (and much scrolling)? Isn't good split the list in minor, more specific lists of historians? L'Astorina 20:40, 15 December 2007 (CST)
Bruno---Please stop editing the History article. You seem not to know much about the topic. Richard Jensen 19:18, 15 December 2007 (CST)
Sorry, all, but where i can dennounce pursuing on CZ? I've mailed editor-in-chief, but i don't know the standard proceedings. L'Astorina 19:34, 15 December 2007 (CST)
I've responded privately. I'm not sure what you mean by "pursuing" here, Bruno. If you have a problem with the behavior of another contributor, write the Constabulary at But that isn't necessary for you to do now; they know about the situation. --Larry Sanger 19:51, 15 December 2007 (CST)

protected article

I have just arrived, so forgive me if I have misread the situation, but in order to avoid losing valuable information, I have temporarily protected this page. I don't think I have a right to do that so if anyone has a problem with that I will I will unblock, but in the meantime, I hope everyone understands that I think a little cooling off might be in order. Is there a problem here? --D. Matt Innis 19:28, 15 December 2007 (CST)

No problem, Matt, but I am going to restore the most recent version that the history editor here has written. Also, once we've communicated with and reached an understanding with Dr. Jensen & Bruno, we should immediately unprotect the page. --Larry Sanger 19:52, 15 December 2007 (CST)

Good Larry, I think that is reasonable. I will redact a couple statements above and email both Bruno and Richard as to why I did then, since this seems to be content related, I'll leave the 'reaching an understanding' to you as the Editor in Chief. --D. Matt Innis 20:00, 15 December 2007 (CST)

Very good, I've gone ahead and unprotected it... --Larry Sanger 20:59, 15 December 2007 (CST)

Not just documents?

What would the contributors to this article think about adding some words such as "and artifacts" to the lede and to the definition (after "written documents"). The article already mentions works of art as sources for historians, and of course there's also architecture, clothing, photographs, machines, household items, etc. I suppose there has to be a distinction made betweeen what "history" does and what "archaeology" does, but it seems that with so much being written by historians about material culture, for example, the article's current definition might be a bit narrow. Bruce M.Tindall 15:02, 28 June 2008 (CDT)

all historians use documents; a few use these other sources. Richard Jensen 16:06, 28 June 2008 (CDT)


As a new contributor, I am proposing to add (unless there is an objection) after the reference to E H Carr, the following: "According to R G Collingwood (The Idea of History, Oxford University Press, 1946, pp9-10) history is 'a kind of research or enquiry' into 'actions that have been done in the past', conducted 'by the interpretation of evidence' - evidence being further defined as documents." I think the quotations are sufficiently brief not to be considered breach of copyright. --Martin Wyatt 18:57, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Do it. And feel free to revise as much as you'd like. The article is getting somewhat stale as it hasn't had a good going through for about four years. Russell D. Jones 19:38, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Ssu-ma Cheng-chen

I've never come across this form of the name, nor is it in Wikipedia. I've only seen Ssǔ- (Wikipedia Szǔ-) -ma Ch'ien in the old spelling, or Sima Qian in the new. Peter Jackson 17:42, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

change it if you think it incorrect; it's probably a typo. Russell D. Jones 18:58, 15 July 2013 (UTC)