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What is historiography and why is it helpful?

Historiography is the essentially ‘the history of history’. In the typical study of history you will be looking at events and facts- analysing why they happened and the causes and consequences. Historiography however, looks more closely at the methodology of historians and instead of tracking events, tracks the development of historical thought over time. You might ask yourself questions such as ‘what theoretical approaches have different historians taken?’, ‘how have these views changed over time and why?’ and ‘why do they think that?’

Being able to produce historiography is such a great skill to have because it allows you to understand how the views of historian’s have changed over time and why. It also allows you to read more critically and discover exactly why sources might disagree. What is happening in the present day that is influencing the way we view the past? This is often because of a change in the political and social context, and this can show you just how subjective history really is.  For example, a rise in Marxism has completely changed how we view ideas about class formation, and a rise in feminist movements has hugely increased the study of women in history and they how women have shaped the course of history. 

Lara H. A Level History tutor, GCSE History tutor, GCSE English Liter...

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