Fall 2016 - HIST 400 D100

Methodology (4)

Class Number: 4770

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    RCB 5100, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Jeremy Brown
    1 778 782-4379
    Office: AQ 6228
  • Prerequisites:

    Admission to the honors program in history.



An advanced seminar on historical methods. Focuses on the identification and analysis of sources in preparation for writing the honours essay.


Sources nourish the historian.  Without sources, we would be unable to interpret the past and even the most brilliantly conceived research topics can come to nothing.  This is a course about finding, reading, and writing about historical sources.  The class will help students prepare for the honours essay or for other research papers, theses, and grant applications in their future classes and careers.

Throughout the term we will do hands-on work with a variety of sources, including archival documents, diaries, memoirs, newspapers, digital material, and secondary literature.  Each week you will make progress in choosing and refining a topic, asking research questions, building a bibliography, taking notes on sources, and creating a proposal for a research project. 

By the end of the term students will have: (1) improved their writing through a series of peer-reviewed assignments; (2) gained skills in critically analyzing a variety of primary and secondary sources; and (3) completed a research proposal that will serve as the groundwork for a future project.


  • Three short essays, each approximately 800 words. 48%
  • Peer review of your classmates’ work. 12%
  • Abstract (300 words) and annotated bibliography (no word limit). 12%
  • Research proposal (700 words), (first draft 10%, final draft 18%). 28%



William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 4th edition (Longman, 1999).

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 10th anniversary edition (Scribner, 2010).

Stanley Chodorow, Writing a Successful Research Paper: A Simple Approach (Hackett, 2011).

Other readings available online. 

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html