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 Learning Our Community's American Lore

Doing History: What Historians Do

Historians, Students and Teachers Doing History--Version: January, 2005

Choose | Locate | Examine | Interpret | Understand context | Draw conclusions | Present

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Locate primary sources
What historians do when they "do history" What students do when they "do history" What teachers do to help their students "do history"
  • Find primary sources – either from that era itself or from another era, representing it—by following the footnotes of other historians
  • Travel to locations, archives, libraries, museums.
  • Search online digital collections
  • Browse these collections to get a sense of what documents are available
  • Conduct oral histories.
  • Read about what others have said about these sources.
  • Review a collection of sources provided by the teacher.
  • Search online digital collections
  • Learn from the teacher how to find more information about their subject.
  • Travel to locations, archives, libraries, museums.
  • Search online digital collections
  • Conduct oral histories.
  • Read about what others have said about these sources.
  • Gather an intentional sampling of sources for students as a starting point.
  • Search online digital collections
  • Instruct students on how to find more sources – how to travel to locations, archives, libraries, museums.
  • Instruct students on how to search online digital collections
  • Instruct students on how to conduct oral histories.
  • Instruct students on how to read about what others have said about these sources.


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