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HY1101: Understanding History

Reading History 1 – mastering secondary sources: Books, monographs

Chilanga Cement

on 6 October 2016

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Transcript of HY1101: Understanding History

Books and Monographs
Mastering Secondary Sources
If you don't enjoy reading....

...you're on the wrong course!

We read every day - almost all of the time
signs, books, emails, updates, tweets.....

However the majority of our everyday reading is 'passive'. We do not engage with it at any depth and we almost never stop to think about HOW something IS written.
Reading - seems straightforward?
Monograph - probably a tightly focused book by a single author
It usually puts forward a distinct argument by the author - an attempt to expand knowledge and understanding about a particular topic.
What does a monograph do?
You will notice there are many on the reading lists for your other modules.
(They are on there for a reason!)
Or long and boring
Why is this important?
Unless the author is very stupid - then the introduction will do a number of things:
This is the very purpose of academic history - we strive for understanding about the past
Introduce the reader to the current understanding of a subject in the academic literature
Demonstrate how this understanding may be lacking in some respect
Broadly introduce the 'new understanding' the authors is putting forward
Inform the reader how the research was undertaken and where (sometimes) [methodology]
Reading for interest is great, however, the time for reading within a module is very small (and obviously decreases with the number of modules you're taking)
Start any reading with a set of research questions
Keep these question is focus while reading and your notes should only really comprise points that help to answer these questions.
You may have come across the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review)
Take a break!
Reading with purpose - monographs
(and anything!)
Initial assessment: 'Globalisation' Skipton
(or if you did not come on the trip, you can choose your home town)
Feedback will be divided into 4 areas: Sentence Structure, Punctuation, Paragraphing and Topic.

500 words!!! General rule about assignment length is +/- 10% (if you've gone over in this one - don't worry too much).

Feedback given online via turnitin - 15 days, but may be sooner!


Environment - to loud, too quiet?

If you subvocalise - stop it, slows reading down!

Leave enough time - having the sources is not the same as reading them!
(comfort books!)
Be ready to read!
Flows well from point-to-point
Has clear signposting (guides you through with an 'internal dialogue'/signposting)
The language is not 'exclusive' (although vocabulary is obviously important)
It makes sense!
Published books are generally very well written.
You may not notice HOW they written
because the writing:
It features a ghost urinating!
Wanna see a cement video from India?
...is gonna be the day that they're gonna throw it back to you
Initial assessment due tomorrow!
Reading... how, where, when..
Organisation and making notes
Cement, if you're very good
What do you read?
Where do you read?

Which medium do you use?
Guess what........?
Types of history
Some reading to do in today's seminar!

HY1101: Understanding History Week 2
Bad signs
Tips and Tricks: Finding sources for History

Extract from Black & Macraild 2007
How many sources should I read?
You cannot read everything on the reading lists!

Even the reading lists provided for modules are not exhaustive

Just read for the assignments?

Try it and see what happens!
Reading goals/objectives
Most seminars will require you to prepare and will indicate the sources you need to read.
Reading 'around' the subject
Essay questions obviously should give you a focus for your reading.
What do we mean by 'secondary' sources?
Generally we are referring to Monographs, Edited collections, and Journal articles
How do you decide what is relevant?
Well, if it's on the reading list - it's probably relevant! However, there are always many more sources you can consult.

Students as researchers!
Everyone develops their own style.
Typing or writing? Please avoid cutting and pasting!
Always keep a careful record of the source details!
Author's name, title of publication, date of publication, PLACE of publication, for Journal articles: Volume No., Month, etc.
Defining Secondary Sources
"Secondary sources are works of synthesis and interpretation based upon primary sources and the work of other authors."
"The authors of secondary sources develop their interpretations and narratives of events based on primary sources, that is, documents and other evidence created by participants or eyewitnesses. Frequently, they also take advantage of the work of other historians by using other secondary sources."
The notion of 'historiography' is very important here
Key words from previous slide: 'synthesis' and 'interpretation'
So what exactly do the authors synthesise?

What do they interpret?
Evidence: Primary and Secondary
Secondary: Historiography - interpretations change over time
Not all secondary sources are equal/useful!

Why is that?
Full transcript