made to reconstruct what happened that time as completely and as accurately as possible so as
to arrive at conclusions concerning causes, effects, trends of past occurrences which may help
explain present events and predict future events. Even though historical research is not
common as other research designs, there are some concepts that are better understood in
terms of past experiences. An example of a topic suitable for historical research may be factors
leading to the development and growth of individual institution.
The purpose of historical research is to make people aware of what happened in the past so
that they may learn from past failures and successes and to learn how things were done in the
past to see if they may be applicable to present day problems and concerns. It is very useful as
an aid to prediction. If an idea has been tried before even in different circumstances, the past
results may offer insights about how the present result may turn out. It helps people to
understand the present from the past.
Historical Research Process
There are four essential steps involved in historical research:
Defining the problem
A historical research problem is identified in the same way as other research problems.
The only difficulty here is that most of the time a problem may be selected for which
sufficient data is not available. This is especially true the further back the past the
investigator may look.
Locating the source
Once the problem has been identified, the search for sources begins. There are four
main sources of historical data:
Documents – this are written or printed in whatever form. They refer to every kind of
information that exists in some type of written or printed form.
Numerical records – these may sometimes be considered as aspects of documents
they are numeric data in printed form.
Oral statements – are obtained through oral interviews of the people who witnessed
or were part of the events.
Relics – these are forms of visual characteristics or physical objects whose form
provide information about the past such as furniture, clothing and pottery.
This design does not gather data by administering instruments to individuals. They seek out
information from data which is already available. The sources of data are classified as primary