Becoming a Historian

An Informal Guide
Penelope J. Corfield and Tim Hitchcock
18 May 2022
156 × 234 mm
216 pp
Paperback: 978-1-914477-15-7
PDF: 978-1-914477-16-4

Writing history is an art and a craft. This handbook supports research students and independent scholars by showing how the historical profession works and how to participate in its vibrant community of scholars. It outlines techniques to help design large-scale research projects, demonstrates the difference between quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and provides advice on bringing projects to a positive conclusion. This friendly guide is frank about the pains and pleasures of sticking with a long-term project, and explains how to present original research to wider audiences, including the appropriate use of social media, the art of public lecturing and strategies for publication.

Written by esteemed historians Penelope J. Corfield and Tim Hitchcock, Becoming a Historian debunks the myths and demystifies the systems that can make the world of research feel intimidating, and offers step-by-step advice on participating in the historical community.

Table of contents: 
Part 1 Starting, Assessing, Organising
1.1 Joining the Through-Time Community of Historians
1.2 Launching the Research Project
1.3 Shared Monitoring of the Timetable
1.4 Finding Well-Attested Evidence
1.5 Probing Sources & Methodologies
1.6 Managing Masses of Data

Part 2 Writing, Analysing, Interpreting
2.1 Writing as a Historian
2.2 Doing It in Public: Historians & Social Media
2.3 Unblocking Writer’s Block, or Better Still, Non-Blocking in the First Place
2.4 Using Technology Creatively: Digital History
2.5 Assessing Some Key Research Approaches
2.6 Troubleshooting

Part 3 Presenting, Completing & Moving Onwards
3.1 Public Lecturing
3.2 Asking & Answering Seminar Questions
3.3 Chairing Seminars
3.4 Taking the Last Steps to Completion
3.5 Experiencing the Viva including Appendix: Note on Range of Viva Outcomes & Appropriate Responses
3.6 Moving Onwards to Publication & Civic Engagement

Part 4 Taking the Long View – Career Outcomes
4.1 Academic Trackways
4.2 Parallel Trackways
4.3 Summary: Trained Historians’ Knowledge and Skills

Part 5 Reflecting
5.1.1 & 5.1.2 Retrospective Thoughts

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