Fall 2019 - HIST 400 D100

Methodology (4)

Class Number: 4850

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

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

    Admission to the honours 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 essays, research papers, theses, projects, 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 (each worth 15%) 45%
  • Peer review of your classmates’ work. Everyone will complete two peer reviews (each worth 7.5%). 15%
  • Abstract (300 words) and annotated bibliography (no word limit). 10%
  • Research proposal (one page, single-spaced, 12-point), (first draft 10%, final draft 20%). 30%



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

Other readings available online. 

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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