Research Skills: Back to the Sources
Full course description
This research training offers a first introduction on how to deal with the problems of tracing, selecting and assessing primary sources, especially those related to the (early) history of European integration. During the course, the specific characteristics of the following types of primary sources are discussed: public political statements, archival government records and public opinion sources. Students will be introduced to the quality control criteria of authenticity, credibility and representativity. Each of the three assignments is devoted to a specific problem and a specific category of historical sources: the assignment on political statements is mainly devoted to the critical analysis of the authenticity and credibility sources. The assignment on archival sources focuses on the problems of representativity and combining a variety of sources. Finally, the assignment on public opinion sources addresses the problems of representativity and credibility again.
This training stimulates a critical and methodical attitude towards sources. At the end of this training, students will be able to:
• Differentiate between primary and secondary sources;
• Appreciate the importance of primary sources for the study of historical and contemporary phenomena;
• Recognise the different characteristics and pitfalls of several types of primary sources.
To be announced. Please see course manual.