In history, an academic assignment engages with a historical question on the basis of historical sources and specialist academic literature. Fundamental to any work of academic research is the principle of verifiability, according to which you as the author must cite the origin of each piece of information which you provide as well as all the sources on which your argument is based. Writing an academic text thus always involves a wide-ranging search for sources and secondary literature as well as subsequent analyses of the literature and sources which you have consulted. Each academic assignment – whether in the form of a written (Pro)Seminar paper or an oral-visual presentation – must observe the general conventions of the discipline as well as any specific lecturer’s instructions.
This section on “Academic Skills” provides an overview of the most important phases and methods of historical research. It follows the basic sequence for working on a research assignment. In practice, however, the historical research process is often circular rather than linear: you may need to adapt your research question retrospectively or return to certain sections of your text after conducting additional research and/or analysis.