chapter  7
18 Pages

Historical Methods

ByRobert A. Schwartz, Florida State University

Historian Charles Beard once categorized the work of historians as “we hold a damn dim candle over a damn dark abyss” (cited in Kaestle, 1989, p. 161). The difficulty in describing historical research as a method for inquiry is that there is no single methodological standard from which all historical research must flow. History is relativistic and changeable. However, Kuhn (1970) and others have shown that even the once permanent truths of physics and other “hard” sciences are mutable, so history is in good company.