Historical Method

History is the meaningful record of man’s achievement. It is not merely a list of characteristics, of chronological events, but a truthful integrated account of the relationship between persons, events, times and places. Man uses history to understand the past, and to try to understand the present in light of past events and developments.
History is a branch of learning that studies the records of past events. History means an inquiry
into the past to establish what has actually happened. The historian is influenced by some philosophy operating implicitly or explicitly in his interpretation.
Meaning and Definition of History –
 The following are some definitions of history
       Þ    “History serves its greatest purpose as a record of the march of humanity on the road of progress in which sense it is very useful compass for taking bearings of the directions of our progress and measuring the speed of our advance.”
        M. Verma.
       Þ    History; in any field of inquiry, is an integrated narrative of past events representing a critical search for the whole truth. Historical approach to the study of any subject denotes an effort to recount some aspects of past life. The possible field for historical research is as broad as life itself. The use of historical sources and techniques in the field of education has been adopted from the universal application of the historical approach in the study of problem from scientific or social fields.
       Þ    “In academic terminology history refers largely to political history although the recent trend is to trace the political history of a country against the background of economic, social and cultural developments.”
        M. Verma
      Þ    “Historical composition is a synthesis and constructive processes that involves the mechanical problem of documentation of the logical problem of selection and arrangement of topic and sub-topic and philosophical problem of interpretation.”
        Good and Scate
       Þ    “An advantage of history that is often overlooked is its effect on the personality of the students and teacher including past events and facts. Scientists prove evidence for fact but no effect.”
      Þ   Thus, history is the combination of facts and imagination of historian.
The following are the meanings of historical research
1 . Historical research is the application of the scientific method of inquiry to historical problems. It demands standards of careful methodology and spirit comparable to those which characterize other types of research.
2. It involves identification and limitations of the problem, formulation of the hypothesis, collection, organization, verification, validation and analysis of data; testing the hypothesis; and writing of the historical account. All of these steps lead to new understanding or the past and its relevance to the present and future.
     3.  Historical studies is education provide important information concerning the effects of certain past educational practices and may suggest programmes for future action, based upon the evaluation of these past experiences.
The purpose of which historical research is undertaken is probably as varied as the many individuals
who engage in the activity. They can be summarised into two major categories:
1. The foremost purpose of doing historical research is to gain a clear perspective of the present. Present problems e.g., racial integration or the recent opposition federal aid to education are undertaking only on the basis of third historical background. Most current events have a past “History” and it is generally necessary for us to acquaint ourselves with this history if we appreciate their real significance.
2.  An understanding of the history of education should enable the educators to recognise the weakness of the educational system.
3.  A common motive underlying historical research is the desire of the scientist to arrive at an accurate account of the past. This may involve nothing more than a scholarly interest in truth, i.e., the desire to know what happened and how? and why? the men of the times allowed it to happen.