HIST300: Historical Methodology

11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/01/2024

Course Description

An invitation to explore the historical discipline. Students will be grounded in the meaning and interpretation of history, methodology, research techniques and career opportunities. Should be taken no later than the first semester of the junior year.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course will introduce students to what it means to be an historian. The student will not only learn the specifics of how to write a research paper but also the process of studying history. The student will also be introduced to the biblical foundation for the study of history, career opportunities in history, and the value of the studying history.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. For Discussion: Christian Worldview, the student is required to submit video posts for both the original thread and replies. The thread must be 60–120 seconds of student audio and 30–60 seconds for replies. For Discussion: Preparing a Career, the thread must be at least 300 words, and each reply must be at least 150 words.

The student will write research proposal (up to 2 pages) in current Turabian format that focuses on a topic he/she may wish to research in a future course. The student is not required to write a research paper; rather, this assignment is meant to equip him or her with the skills to write research papers in later courses. The proposal should identify the topic, provide a summary of the key historiographical works, explain the significance of the argument, and provide a brief overview of the research process. The bibliography needs to include five primary and five secondary sources in the proper format.  While scholarly internet sources are encouraged, please use internet sources with discretion, avoiding general, non-peer reviewed sites.  After each source, the student must provide a brief description (20-30 words) of the source and its importance to the paper.

The student will conduct an oral history interview with a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle about his or her family. The student will create a set of at least 10 questions based on a group of topics provided in the course and will write a 300-word summary of the interview in current Turabian format. The student will also video record the interview and submit the recording with the written part of the assignment.

Using Ancestry.com, the student will complete his or her family tree as far back as possible but at least back to a generation living in 1880. The student will also submit a 400-word summary in current Turabian format about his or her genealogical research. The summary must focus on what sources were used (minimum of 3), research issues that arose due to poor or absent sources, and what new things he/she learned about his or her family.  Students should be able to use the free trial of Ancestry.com that company provides, but might need to acquire a subscription.

Using a provided website and evidence gleaned from the Family Tree Assignment, the student will examine the events in the state (or adjacent state) during the week 1 of his or her ancestors was born, prior to 1922. Once located, the student will write a 150–175-word description of the local events and their significance for the area in which his or her ancestor was born.

The student will select a book of based on some aspect of his/her family history. The student will write a 600-700 word analysis of this selection. This is NOT a book report. This paper should NOT simply summarize the book. Rather, a book review should assess the argument of the book, its strenghts and weaknesses, its sources, and it contribution to the literature in the field.

To integrate biblical worldview and history, the student will use a key event in the history of his or her family to highlight an important biblical passage of his or her choosing. The student will submit the Bible passage (a maximum of 4 verses) as a 250-word devotional connecting the passage’s meaning to his or her family history event. The assignment must be in current Turabian format.

The student will submit a bibliography of 5 primary sources (diaries, newspapers, letters, political debates, speeches, etc.), 5 secondary sources (books), and 5 secondary sources (articles) using current Turabian format citation methods. The sources must directly relate to a subject important to the student’s family history.

The Digital Presentation constitutes the culmination of the student’s genealogical research. The student must create a narrated presentation using Adobe Creative Cloud Express that focuses on important historical events directly related to his/her family history. The presentation must have at least 15 minutes of student-spoken audio. The presentation must also include a video introduction stating a thesis, an analysis of primary source evidence, references to secondary sources, and a concluding slide listing a complete bibliography of at least 10 sources.

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the Modules: Weeks in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 20-minute time limit.

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