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how to tell if a history work has quality

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  Quote Guess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: how to tell if a history work has quality
    Posted: 16-Jun-2009 at 20:12

What are some things to look for in a book/article about history to let me know if the author did solid research?

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  Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2009 at 10:22
Look at the quality of his footnotes. They tend to seperate the good historians from the bad.
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2009 at 14:48
If by footnotes one means explanatory text supplementing the main text, then I simply agree with Parnell.

However where the footnotes are simply citations they too often need to be checked out, since it's very easy to refer to apparently learned texts and give the appearance of their supporting the author's arguments, when looking at them reveals otherwise. This is particularly true when the cited works are difficult or impossible to access.

Citations of widely available sources are more to be relied on than footnotes, simply because it's harder to fake them, rather than because widely available sources are more reliable, which they may not be.
 
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  Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2009 at 19:36
The quality of the footnotes could refer to several factors - but from experience, bad historians tend to have a sloppy style and tend to be quite gullible (Such as claiming somone has a certain vice, using his nemesis' diary etc.)
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2009 at 13:28
The quality of one's sources (footnotes) is only as good as the sources used by your sources! If your sources are the result of the claim that "it was reported by Clymensthenes that Plato said such and such", but no original of Plato really exists, thus what worth does it have other than heresay?

The same is true of most of our consenual history, thus the sources which most academics quote are mostly "hot air!"

Almost all historians tend to "gloss" their works with "fictions", that is they feel free to use their imaginations to write "imagined discourses" or "conversations" of which they have absolutely no proof ever occured.

I contend, that until the promoglation of print and printing presses that there really existed very few "originals" of any kind! And, if someone says that "such and such" document or parchment, or scrap of parchment or vellum, etc. is "original" let them prove it!

Thus there seems to exist NO original works of Plato, Aristotle, Livy, or any other famous Greek, Egyptian, Persian or Roman historian or cleric! Until the time of printing they merely turned bad, or rotted away, just like documents of today tend to do even when kept in the best of conditions!

You see, it is much like the story of the great lie, that is, if one tells a lie, often enough, and repeats it enough, for long enough, it will become "truth!"

Thus, just whom first reported and copied the works of Seneca, or Plato, or Livy, etc.? Where were they found an just who found them?

The above questions and others are but a few that need to be asked. Did the discoverer of the ancient documents have a motive to discover them, did he have access to 14C dating, or real etymology studies? Couuld he analyze the ink, etc.?

The number of famous and not so famous forgeries and frauds is "legion" and just what number remains to be discovered? Certain families became rich making forgeries of documents, statues, coins, etc. Many are even mentioned by other historians whilst they treasure their own "originals!" Most all of these items are not allowed to be either touched or examined by anyone other than pre-disposed experts, if ever!

As us well known, even "experts" have been fooled! Hundreds of them!

Many museums have special sections devoted to "fakes and forgeries!", or at least they should have one! Many of their "experts" have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars / euros to purchase original works that were later exposed by the forger, or faker him self!

I will now use another famous quotation; "Most of history is bunk!", I believe it was attributed to Heny Ford![/QUOTE]

Edited by opuslola - 15-Oct-2009 at 18:07
http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2009 at 14:36
Originally posted by opuslola


Thus, just whom first reported and copied the works of Seneca, or Plato, or Livy, etc.? Where were they found an just who found them?

The above questions and others are but a few that need to be asked. Did the discoverer of the ancient documents have a motive to discover them, did he have access to 14C dating, or real etymology studies? Couuld he analyze the ink, etc.? 
Though I do not know the exact answers, I think that almost all ancient writings have been copied accurately. That does not mean that all ancient figures existed as individuals, rather that the writings attributed to them have been accurately copied.
 
For example, the Dead Sea scrolls proved that the Book of Isaiah has been copied almost verbatim for 2,000 years. Likewise, there is probably little difference from very early Koranic copies and copies translated into more modern forms of Arabic in say the 1600s. 
 
Most early cultures considered even secular written knowledge and literacy in general as something very special. Thus great care was taken in copying, even if the scribe had no idea what he was copying or disagreed with it for theological reasons.


Edited by Cryptic - 19-Oct-2009 at 11:48
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jan-2010 at 14:53
I do not want to be cryptic, Cryptic (chuckle) but for me to outright answer most all posts made upon this site, might well get me sent to the "dustpan?"

Thus, unlike you, the one who "bares" the name, I shall mostly have to remain "cryptic!"
regards,
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  Quote kangarooistan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2010 at 14:39
I know of highly respected researchers who passed through Australia in early times , and made good notes that are reported by highly respected Scholars without question as eye witness accounts of facts they saw and recorded . some of these accounts look excellent ,But these at times clash with other little known reports ,  found in diaries letters and local sources on the ground .

Today the original accounts are offered as facts by experts  who did indeed visit the areas , and are widely accepted by many quality  publishers  , and  yet IMHO often better accounts from locals are rejected , as the professionals mostly  accept the official versions , it can be hard to  tell which version is more correct , I live in South Australia and so did my family for many generations and find our collected histories are dismissed as unreliable , yet a German speaking "expert" who rode through the area up to 100 or more  years ago , usually  with a few non local Aboriginal peoples , covering 20 km a day on average , are at times  held as the final arbiter on many things , that should be mostly seen as no more than tourists snaps are today , not a  final draft history that often  kills off the real versions at times dismissed as unsupported unpublished unreliable

The facts can be tested , its a matter of having the time and money to challenge the establishment , it can cost heaps of time and effort / gold ,  to unseat a long held POV with nil reward of any kind for those who try

At times the original researchers did not speak English as a native tongue , and did not speak the Aboriginal Tongues ,  but used Aboriginals from other areas who spoke broken English ,  and the entire report is a mess , many were with one Aboriginal interviewing another from a different area ,  in broken English relaying the questions to a non English researcher , to be translated by 18/19th century British printer for consumption by white Anglo  ruling Elites  , with modern scholars to debate some  topics  and often   rejecting what I consider FAR better research , going down on many occasions based on the earlier researchers  badly flawed but widely accepted reports

While eye witness accounts from people living all their lives in an area are at times dismissed as unqualified , by  unknowns with untested evidence ,  that differs from the  official accepted accounts , , back to your original point , HOW do you know quality research , HOW  do you  know the research is researching quality material

How do you know the unofficial version may be far far more accurate even without the qualifications , in my experience its best to go back and test all the evidence from the ground up , very often mistakes are made in the first few steps and the end result is DOOMED to be flawed

Its a bit sad at times to see quality history over ruled by professional looking articles  , but all is not lost , the  historic "picture"  slowly emerge for those who seek and test and polish what we have , best never " swallow " anything even the very best researchers can be wrong , its no crime to be wrong or on the wrong path so to speak ,  unless its deliberate ,, there is always more yet to be revealed to even the best researched topics and the picture gets clearer all the time if ya keep looking , the more you can find

i always go right back to the very very very beginning and do my own research , and it takes years and years , sadly nobody will ever bother to repeat my efforts , and we are stuck with the official version for those who enjoy potted history
kanga
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2010 at 08:47
Kanga, How about? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_said_Repeat_a_lie_often_enough_and_it_will_believed

""If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it...." is regularly attributed to Joseph Goebbels. However, I have found no evidence that he said it. Everyone quotes everyone else, but no one ever gives a source.
"A lie told often enough becomes truth" Vladimir Lenin.


William James (1842-1910) The father of modern Psychology "There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it."

Actually Adolf Hitler said it, that's how he got many people of Nazi Germany during that time to discriminate against the Jews"

If the above is really true, then perhaps Henry Ford was correct when he made this statement? "Most of history is bunk!"

Maybe his statement has not yet caught on? Maybe it should be repeated?
"Most of history is bunk!"!, etc.! Chuckle!

Regards,

http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-May-2010 at 19:00
And there are;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

Weird!

Edited by opuslola - 09-May-2010 at 19:02
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-May-2010 at 06:49
Opuslola. how exactly do you have the ability to conduct any such historical research at all then prior to the most modern of periods, given your stance on source material?
 
The provenance of sources and their reliabilities is a problem that faces all historians in all periods. One can simply never know fully what you have been left with and how trusatworthy or relavent it may really be. Even if it is hearsay of 3rd hand information etc. No tru objectivity exists. Historians can only use and base their arguments on what has been left to them by the past, whatever that might be.
 
For example, my current research has lead me to study a text by the 13th Cebtury Lawyer Philip of Novara, his work on the War betweens the Ibelins and Frederick II on Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Though Phillip was a noted partisan of the Ibelins and his work (an account of the events the civil war) often resembles a romantic tale at points in its hero worship of John of Ibelin, it is nevertheless a useful source that one must use. Even if events described as such in the source or conversations did not occur in the manner portrayed, the source itself still has value. The work itself intrinsically tells the reader something about the ideas and people who wrote it and read it. 
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-May-2010 at 18:19
DreamWeaver, you wrote;

"For example, my current research has lead me to study a text by the 13th Cebtury Lawyer Philip of Novara, his work on the War betweens the Ibelins and Frederick II on Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Though Phillip was a noted partisan of the Ibelins and his work (an account of the events the civil war) often resembles a romantic tale at points in its hero worship of John of Ibelin, it is nevertheless a useful source that one must use. Even if events described as such in the source or conversations did not occur in the manner portrayed, the source itself still has value. The work itself intrinsically tells the reader something about the ideas and people who wrote it and read it."

NO! What you said above is a subjective opinion and not an objective one! You actually said "the source itself still has value." Why?

What if your source is not really a source, but just a figment of someone elses' imagination?

You see, you and others want it to be a "source!", this does not insure that it is actually one!

But, I am not at all familar with it, so you might well be correct! But, I would really look closely at anything and any person said to be connected to Frederick II?

I can suggest that anyone called a "Stupor-mundi" is playing with a problem, since any definition of "Stupor" leads one in an entirely different direction than we are now told!

A "dullard" might well be a better description of this person, if indeed he ever existed?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stupor

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dullard

Again, it is but another example of the lack of "solid research!"

Regards,

Edited by opuslola - 14-May-2010 at 18:29
http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2010 at 10:31
I hate to be the one to burst your bubble here Opusola but objectivity is a myth. Nobody and nothing can be truely objective. Objectivity itself is subjective.

The source itself still has value becaue even if the details contained within are all false and nothing but stories that have very little to do with reality, then it tells you something about the people who wrote it, why they wrote it, what they hoped to achieve etc. It intrinsically has value and worth because of the context of its creation.


"What if your source is not really a source, but just a figment of someone elses' imagination?"

Come on now seriosuly, already answered above and lets not go down the subjective nature of reality route.

"You see, you and others want it to be a "source!", this does not insure that it is actually one!"

Actually it does, your wrong Im afraid.

Your definitionsof Stupor is not applicable because its English and not Latin. Stupor Mundi, wonder of the world.

"Again, it is but another example of the lack of "solid research!"


A reference to yourself perhaps? These are after all childishly simple historical techniques we are dealing with here. Its what historians do.

So I ask again, howexactly do you do any historical research since you apparently cant use any sources? How do you achieveany solid research?


Edited by DreamWeaver - 15-May-2010 at 11:05
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2010 at 10:38
Are you infact a Post Modernist?


If so Im not going to bother discussing anything, it would be a waste of time.


Edited by DreamWeaver - 15-May-2010 at 11:06
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2010 at 17:01
My dear DreamWeaver, who ever you are?

What, in fact do you call someone who may be a "Post Modernist?" Just what is your definition?

But, I really doubt that I am one?
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2010 at 18:21
Somebody who subscribes to post modernist theory.


I suggest you stay away from it if you arent.
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-May-2010 at 18:58
My dear DreamWeaver! You, for some reason, and with "wrath!" wrote the following;

"I suggest you stay away from it if you arent!"

Wow! What a good threat! You must have thought a lot about your words before you posted them, did you not?

So, I slap your face with my glove!

You do know what this means, do you not?

Orders are not allowed here! Unless you are a Benedictine, or some other religious order, not inclined to fight,?

If you are not a Benedictine, then you must certainly be from an "Order" by which we may let our swords loose! You must be from one of those "Orders" which took to the sword?

I am sure you know which "Orders" I meant?

En Guarde'
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2010 at 03:23
Post Modernism is the bane of my existance, just as soon as I though it had been dealt with it rears its ugly head once more like some sort of historiographical hydra.
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2010 at 10:04
Yes, from what little I know about it and "critical theory", it seems way above or below my head!

Even reading about it can give one a headache!

For me to consider it? Impossible!

Touche"
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