Fall 2021 - HIST 400 D100

Methodology (4)

Class Number: 3918

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • 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 and 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.  We will also learn about decolonizing and indigenizing historical research methods.  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 can serve as the groundwork for a future project.


  • Three short essays, each approximately 800–1,000 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%


Prerequisite: Admission to the honours program in history or permission of the history department.



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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.