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History: Historiography

guide to history research for affiliates of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)

Historiography Defined

Historiography defies simple definition but at its core implies a concern for the examination of all aspects of historical scholarship including especially the writing of history and the methods of historical research. The term can be applied to a single scholarly work or body of historical literature. Search WorldCat or the library's discovery service (i.e., main search) to find historiographical works about your topic.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (or LCSH) are assigned by cataloging librarians to the records that describe library-held books. Headings sometimes indicate the type of work described, in this case "historiography." In the following example, "historiography" is appended as a subdivision (or sub-heading) to the main heading for WWI:

Though useful once known, this heading is not intuitive. Why not use First World War, World War I, or even WWI? What to do? Perform an Advanced keyword search in the library's discovery service. Make sure historiography appears in the subject field:

Secondary Series

Find below secondary book series. These books are authored by historians, an important consideration when exploring the historiography on your topic. Examine titles in a particular series to understand trends and historiographical problems confronting scholars.




United States:

Historiographical Series

Find below two important reference book series. Blackwell companions in particular offer high-quality historiographical essays, which take the form of short chapters of about 10-to-25 pages. Again, these are reference or tertiary sources that, among other purposes, lead researchers to influential historians and secondary histories.

Historiographical Companions

Essays in companions enable students to identify important historians and influential secondary histories, plus critical debates that shaped scholars' understanding of the past.