A Code of Conduct for Historians

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A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by Guest on Fri 5 Dec - 12:42

Historians are humans; we make mistakes. But some of these instances are just bad history and we need practices that safeguard against human error. I thought I would presumptuously suggest a Code of Conduct for how historians should use evidence:

•Use evidence to support your interpretation and seek to understand that evidence correctly.

•Do not wilfully present evidence out of context, especially not in such a way that the lack of context will render the meaning of the evidence different, unclear or manipulable.

•Do not cite evidence from sources that you elsewhere discount.

•At best, do not waste a reader’s time on unsubstantiated sources.

•At least flag up evidence that is drawn from such sources; do not use it silently.

•Triangulate; search ardently for evidence that might undermine, as well as corroborate, your hypothesis.

•Avoid assumption creep: do not allow assertions to move from ‘possibly’ to ‘probably’ to ‘definitely’; do not build more elaborate layers of interpretation on a foundation that is rocky.

•Do not rely on the secondary assertions of other historians; ad fontes! Go back to the original sources.

•Guard against confirmation bias; interrogate the ‘facts’ anew and bring a fresh analysis to them; do not mould the facts to your interpretation.

•Root out and resolve any internal inconsistencies in your argument.

•Cite sources so that they can be traced, with page numbers, archival call numbers and publication details.
Our professional integrity as historians relies on our adherence to standards such as these.


http://www.historytoday.com/suzannah-lipscomb/code-conduct-historians

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Re: A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by eddie on Fri 5 Dec - 18:54

Not just for historians: for debaters alike!

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Re: A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by nicko on Fri 5 Dec - 18:59

And no sneering at people who get it wrong!
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Re: A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by Guest on Sat 6 Dec - 11:16

eddie wrote:Not just for historians: for debaters alike!



Agreed Eddie, hence why I posted this.

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Re: A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by Ben Reilly on Sat 6 Dec - 22:25

I like it! I was very frustrated yesterday when I came across an article that claimed partial African heritage from people ranging to the British royal family to Beethoven to Clark Gable to Jackie Onassis; I had a hard time finding sources to back up the claims.

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Re: A Code of Conduct for Historians

Post by Guest on Sun 7 Dec - 19:30

Ben_Reilly wrote:I like it! I was very frustrated yesterday when I came across an article that claimed partial African heritage from people ranging to the British royal family to Beethoven to Clark Gable to Jackie Onassis; I had a hard time finding sources to back up the claims.


Agreed Ben, I am open to new ideas and theories etc, but there has to be some base evidence to back their views, otherwise they just end up being very disappointing.

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