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Historical Health Care Policy Research: Types of Sources



Historical Research

Historical Research

One type of qualitative research is historical research.  Historical research allows for the study of the past and the generation of conclusions regarding the future through the systematic collection and evaluation of data, or sources.  Historical research has a number of purposes: learning from past successes and failures, application to present-day problems, make predictions, test trends and hypotheses, and understanding present policies more fully.  
There are four steps to complete historical research:
1.  Define the issues/problem to be investigated
2.  Locate relevant data, or sources
        a. Primary sources
        b. Secondary sources
        c. Tertiary sources
3. Summarize and evaluate information obtained from sources
4. Compose an argument, or thesis, utilizing the information obtained from sources

Helpful links

Outside Links

• Introduction to Historical Research
Guide developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries that provides an overview of performing historical research. 
•  Reading, Writing, and Researching for History
Guide developed by Dr. Patrick Rael, professor of History at Bowdoin College. The guide provides advice on all aspects of historical research including reading history books, primary source research, and writing historical papers. 
• Learning Historical Research
Website, developed by Dr. William Cronon and students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which provides a basic introduction to those interested in historical research.