Fall 2023 - HIST 200 D100

Making History: Introduction to Historical Research (3)

Class Number: 4956

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.



Learning history by doing history. Introduction to a historical problem, and learning how to build and defend a historical interpretation through the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Small seminar format will allow hands-on experience developing research, writing, and presentation skills applicable to other history courses. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


Small is beautiful! Less is more! Through a focus on the theory and practice of microhistory, we shall study the essentials of historical research.  We shall learn how an SFU professor unraveled a sentence from a medieval manuscript, sift evidence in the trials of a sixteenth-century French impostor and a seventeenth-century German widow accused of witchcraft, follow the brief career of a Canadian pilot in the First World War, and observe how in 1970 a brutal murder of a young African American man in a small town in North Carolina became the focus of a story, in a family setting, of local and national racial conflict. 

Microhistory reduces the scale of investigation to a single individual or community or object, often overlooked, to reclaim human agency in a narrative to explore a large historical question or problem.  Take this course to discover how fascinating microhistory is and to develop skills in historical research that will prepare you for the learning opportunities that you can expect from other courses in the Department of History. 


The course requirements will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History.  By the end of the course, you will be able to

  • describe, reflect upon, and evaluate microhistory and its methods;
  • collect, organize, and analyze information relevant to historical research;
  • communicate orally and in written form the results of historical research.


  • Research assignments (Weeks 2-5) 20%
  • Brief research assignments (Weeks 6-11) 6%
  • Participation (oral and / or written) 14%
  • First Essay (800-1000 words, due 13 Oct.) 15%
  • Second Essay (800-1000 words, due 27 Oct.) 15%
  • Third Essay (1500-2000 words, due 29 Nov.) 30%



We shall use Canvas in several ways. It will serve as a tool for written participation.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.