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African History

Getting Started -- African History

If you are new to conducting research:
Consider reviewing the Starting Your Research tutorial to learn the phases and processes of doing research

Start your research in African History with these key resources:

Types of History Research: Primary VS. Secondary

Your professor may require you to find scholarly sources  popular sources, secondary sources or primary sources on your topic.    Here's a very basic guide if you need more details:

Primary Sources: Primary sources are the raw stuff of history. Examples of primary sources:

  • diaries and journals
  • documents,
  • newspaper or magazine articles,
  • statistics,
  • novels, plays, or poetry
  • reports, autobiographies, memoirs, or books written during the time of an event

Some Primary Sources are also known as popular sources.

Secondary or Scholarly Sources: 

These are the peer reviewed articles and scholarly books that historians write after they have worked with the primary sources -- and consulted other secondary articles or books.  

Historiography: Historiography is the study of how historians have interpreted historical events throughout time. The student of the historiography  of South Africa, for example, might want to compare how historians wrote about the country during the Colonial and Apartheid eras with how historians have written about it during the last twenty years.  One way of doing this comparative interpretation, is  by looking for bibliographies on a subject or using the keyword "historiography" combined with keywords from the subject of your research

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Adam Rosenkranz
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