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Gr. 7 History | SY 2013-2014 | Ms.


D u c Ad Veritatem

PAREF Woodrose School, Inc.

High School Department
Philippine History

The Historical Method

It is a systematic body of principles and rules designed to aid effectively in
gathering the source materials of history, appraising them critically, and presenting a
synthesis (generally in written form) of the results achieved. More simply put, it is a
system of right procedure for the attainment of historical truth.
The Writing of History
In writing history, historians have evolved a "historical method." This method has
three steps: (1) searching for sources;
(2) inference; and
(3) synthesis.
There can be no history unless historians have materials to work on for history
depends on surviving evidence. These sources may consist of material remains such as
bones, tools, weapons and pottery; oral traditions such as myths, legends and songs;
pictorial data such as drawings and maps; and written records, ranging from ancient
manuscripts to treaties, diaries, books and newspapers.
Once materials have been gathered, the historians have to make inferences from
their sources. Inference involves two phases: (1) external criticism and (2) internal
criticism. External criticism refers to the process of determining the genuineness of the
material while internal criticism refers to the process of determining the meaning of the
content and the accuracy of the work. Here, historians may look into the nature of the
language used in a particular period or they may study the circumstances or situations
on which an author or a public figure made a statement as in published memoirs.
Historians need to analyze their statements for they may present themselves purely on
a good light. Historians, in using government records, also have to scrutinize these for
the data contained in them may not be accurate.
The third step in the historical method is synthesis. Here, historians use their
judgment in the selection of facts or data which they will use in writing history.
Sources: Accessed on 20 June 2012.
Viloria, Evelina M., ed., Philippines: History and Government. Quezon City: Vibal Publishing House, Inc., 2005.