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9

The answer lies in history being a discursive and inductive practice where our evidentiary materials are untrustworthy. A preponderance of the evidence, correctly interpreted, with a correct interpretation of what constitutes relevant evidence is required. This is obviously debatable. My invaluable peasant letters are your irrelevant ephemera. Proofs can't ...


9

Another 3 advices to add to Sardathrion's: Try not to let emotions affect you into mistaking incidents for trends (one such example from History SE was when someone described US involvement in Vietnam as being a pattern of massacres. While Mai Lai is indeed horrific, it's (given the scale) a minor blip that serves to prove the opposite trend (out of ...


9

Try to go back to primary source and archaeological evidences. Are there mass graves? What about population movement? What do statistics have to say about the population, economy, and whatnot? You can look at the documents and narratives's authors and find out inconsistencies within them or evidence of forgeries/lies -- note that lack of such is not ...


8

Non-historians need to be aware that historians produce history using historiography. Historiography is an empirical methodology, it deals with the outside world using fallible human apparatus. Historiography is a discursive methodology, it deals with the close reading of large sets of known to be fallible and incomplete texts. This means that history ...


8

The first thing that came to my mind reading your question certainly is data storage and retrieval. History often is a lot of documents. Databases can be immensely helpful for storing, accessing, and cross-referencing large piles of (historical) data, and complex algorithms can be used to analyze such data. Computer analysis can also be very helpful in ...


4

You should consider looking at alternative sources that are not biased as part of your research. For example, the United Nations issues reports that provide a generally unbiased view of situations going on in different countries throughout the world. Usually their reports will provide a fairly accurate view of both sides of the events, and then it is up to ...


4

Although I'm not an expert in the field, it is my understanding that we would not be able to reach much of the Dead Sea Scrolls without modern image processing. (And in the absence of digitization the documents would be available to a far smaller group of scholars). And only recent image processing has revealed the secret of the subject smear, which is a ...


4

Unfortunately, historians are not very scientific, so the kind of reasoning you envision is more or less absent in historical research. History, as practiced today, is more about collating facts from literary sources, rather than reasoning about those facts. Not that there haven't been plenty of people who have attempted theories of historical reasoning. For ...


3

Not that I know of, but I'd think that such a process would be so far removed from quantifiable science that it'd be rendered pointless. The job of a historian is to make best guesses given the evidence that's presented itself. Given that it's easy for two different historians to look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions. Then without really ...


3

As sbi noted, relational databases can be used for analyzing historical data. A specific example comes from the scholarly work The First Crusaders, 1095-1131 by renowned crusade scholar Jonathan Riley-Smith. This book focuses on studying the first generation of crusaders. In the introduction Riley-Smith explains how he used an Oracle database to store basic ...


2

I have degrees in Informatics and Cognitive Sciences (which is a mixture of sciences but traditionally not yet the "history faculty"). I had this discussion 15 years ago with persons from the history faculty and the first thing I think of is ofcourse Asimov and Harry Seldon) I read this as "can we pull the history faculty in cognitive science" I think this ...


2

I'll separate my answer into two: ancient history and modern history. Ancient history Personally, I think the most interesting and very "new" field is the use of DNA analysis to study ancient human migrations. See for example the Wikipedia article Models of migration to the New World and Mitochondrial Eve. This field uses information that has survived up ...


2

Attempts to produce quantitative history, ie cliometrics within Economic history; may make more computationally intensive demands than traditional text interpretation. This kind of economic history is not viewed as a core element of the discipline. The computational requirements are probably computationally boring from a theoretical perspective; and, ...


2

It's a fascinating question. One of the greatest contributions of computer science to the study of history is the fact that people created computer science, which is based on logic. There is quite a long process between the invention of logic, and it's encoding into the physical realm through machine logic. This fact sheds a bright light on your search for ...


2

The biggest difference between the way a non-historian and a historian do history is the type of sources they use. A historian will attempt to use primary sources, meaning sources written by actors or reporters at the time of events. For example, letters, newspapers and other contemporary accounts. A non-historian will tend to use secondary sources, ...


1

I would like to refer everyone to Professor Margaret MacMillan's use of analogous reasoning in her article here. It is indeed very interesting to note how analogy is used. After further research, I came up with the following idea that analogous reasoning identifies a certain 'abstraction' from which common events are related. Historians then apply the same ...


1

Analogical reasoning is fine, if done well. It is normal for people to compare events with their own experiences or with other things that have happened in the past. Hopefully the analogy fits and doesn't lead A problem with contrafactuals too far is that historians tend to freeze all other contingencies and let the history diverge wildly. In reality, ...



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