Research Skills: Back to the Sources
Full course description
This research training oﬀers a ﬁrst, hands-on 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. In three consecutive assignments the following types of primary sources will be discussed: public political statements, archival government records and public opinion sources (including opinion polls). Students will also be introduced to the quality control criteria of authenticity, credibility and representativity which they will need to apply themselves to a number of sources. Two of the three assignments will result in group presentations, in which students will work together to present their analysis of a number of primary sources.
This training teaches 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;
Apply the quality control criteria of authenticity, credibility and representativity to any given source.
Material to be provided during the course.