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ERIC Number: EJ933466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Getting Medieval on American History Research: A Method to Help Students Think Historically
Burkholder, Peter
History Teacher, v43 n4 p545-562 Aug 2010
In an attempt to increase college history majors' ability to analyze primary sources, the author set up a unique research project designed to tap into his students' personal interests, and which would utilize a specific method requiring them to grapple with primary source materials in an unfamiliar, though hopefully more profitable fashion. The personal connection was accomplished by making his school's buildings and grounds (an erstwhile Vanderbilt family estate), as well as their former occupants, the objects of inquiry. The novel approach consisted of applying a modified research technique called diplomatics (not to be confused with diplomacy or diplomatic history), a method typically employed by medievalists and archivists, to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century American source materials. The result was a project that challenged the students in an entirely new way, exposed some of their preconceptions about what constitutes a "typical" history paper, and got them thinking about primary sources on a deeper, more sophisticated level. (Contains 2 figures and 10 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey