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Conclusion or Confusion?

What, exactly, is a valid conclusion for students of history? Are hypotheses legitimate? Do our theories have to meet the scientific standard? Is it enough for a conclusion to be "more likely than not" (aka, a preponderance of the evidence) or believable beyond a shadow of a doubt, to borrow standards used by courts of law? ...

Textual Criticism

Criticism? Who wants to be critical? We do. Or we should. Criticism, used appropriately, is a powerfully positive force. The critical evaluation of all material we use for authenticity and credibility—aka textual criticism—is ...

Newspapers, OCR'd Teasers, and Make-Do Citations

For researchers, the Internet is an all-in-one paradise, purgatory, and hell. It tempts us with wondrous things packaged in confusing ways. When mishandled or misread, it can create results for which some researchers will damn us forever. A recent query to EE’s Citation Issues Forum makes the point. We might paraphrase the question this way: How do you cite a website that gives you only a teaser—Twitter-sized snippets from many separate articles all run into one jumbled mass?" ...

Citing Indexes & Finding Aids

Oh, yes, we love them—those indexes and finding aids. They shortcut our slogs through endless records. Used wisely, they lead us to more (and more accurate) information. But they can also perplex us and mislead us. Here are a few tips to help us reap their benefits without nicking ourselves with our own scythe. ...

The Power of a Word—and a Mindset

Words do have power. They don’t just inform. They can convince or dissuade. They can excite us or they can discourage us. And all of that just might explain something we’ve noticed for two of our recent posts. Which would you say is the hardest for historical researchers: Finding records on “people,” or finding records on women? ...

Your 7 Basic Rules for Identifying Sources. Just 7.

If you ever felt like source citation involves too many rules, this list is for you. Yes, in every style guide for every field, each "rule" is there for a purpose; but if you're able to remember them all, you're likely to be an editor or a fuss-pot. For everyone else—normal people who have learned to look up "particulars" in one of those style guides but would prefer to mentally tote around just a short list—here's EE's 7 Basic Rules.

A Record Here ... A Record There ... Wow! A Match!

A record here, a record there, and we have a match. Or do we? A researcher, in another forum, presented a problem. He is studying ...

When 'Citing' Means Regurgitating

Sometimes, the simplest things are the most confusing. A researcher just asked: "When I'm citing something, when do I use the word 'citing'?" The answer, of course, is "It depends." A few months ago, another EE user approached the question in a different way ...

How To Solve a Research Problem

It’s doable. Really. All it takes are two nevers and three always. Here's your five-star solution ...

A Church Book Is a Church Book Is a Church Book

Across centuries of record-keeping, different denominations have created different types of records. ... Regardless of the country in which you work, your citations to church books will have essentially the same elements. ...

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