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The Modern Researcher

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  13 reviews
This classic introduction to the techniques of research and the art of expression is used widely in historiography courses in many departments other than history. This book thoroughly covers every aspect of research from the selection of a topic, through the methods of finding and verifying data, writing and revising, to preparing a manuscript for publication. It offers in ...more
Published January 1st 1992 by Thomson Learning (first published June 16th 1970)
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Brent Ranalli
I have the 4th edition on my shelf. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the wealth of anecdotes, improbable and entertaining stories from scholarship across the centuries. From the authors' casual mention of a 900-year old murder mystery I went out and bought "The Killing of King William Rufus," one of the most obscure books and among the most enjoyable books I've read.
A useful text in many respects for the graduate student. The first chapter was especially insightful and even inspiring in its explanation of how and why we study history. It indirectly provides some particularly zesty counters for addressing and redirecting those who cling to the particularly pesky mantra of “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it,” which has always bothered me, but I’ve never before had the verbal ammunition to overcome.

Perhaps the greatest flaw of this work is t
Sarah Sammis
The Modern Researcher was first published in 1957 and the most recent edition (#6) was published in 2001. I read the third edition (1977). The third edition examples of how to do research and how to use libraries are a little outdated especially the emphasis on the card catalogue and the lack of discussion on computers and internet usage. I don't know if the most recent edition is modernized to cover computers and the internet.

The book's greatest strength is how well it highlights the difference
Mark Bowles
The ABC of technique
1. The prime difficulty: What is my subject?
a) A subject is always trying to merge itself into the great mass of associated facts
b) Subject: that group of associated facts and ideas which leave no questions unanswered within the presentation even though many questions could be asked outside of it
c) Fashioning a subject is life working with clay.
2. “I have all of my material”-but have you?
a) A final search of material needs to be performed
b) The is for new information that was
Gregory Sparzo
fantastic writing by the great Prof. Barzun who is still with us at 102!
I asked a history professor to recommend a book about how to do historical research, and got this. I have to say I won't be passing the recommendation on.

Here's what I liked:

* Some of the sections on how to write well. There's a good reminder that although lots of words (especially verbs) can be used to mean the same thing, in fact they can be differentiated by their original meaning or by the image they are meant to evoke. If you keep this in mind you will avoid mixed metaphors and write more e
There are newer editions of this classic book on the practice, ethics, and philosophy of writing history, and perhaps the special voice and wit of the original authors, polymath Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff, survives in them. But this edition (Fifth Edition, 1992), published when personal computers had gained a foothold in academic research but the internet had not, and libraries were still in the process of creating their online catalogues, preserves methods that are still necessary for schol ...more
Laurie Neighbors
Just remembering my arranged marriage with this book in 1987 brought on the olfactory memory of card catalogs, bound periodical indexes, sour-faced university librarians, and the chalk-dusted Professor Briggs "Twigs" Twyman, a savage and aggressive critic and, for me, perfect mentor. RIP Dr. Twyman. I'll never forget your backward praise of my paper on Custer's Last Stand while you were acerbically shouting down everyone else in my historiography seminar. I still haven't figured out your angry s ...more
I wish I had read this book 15 years ago. I would have learned how to conduct research properly - verify facts, obtain sources, and read carefully - and how to organize my thoughts into coherent text to leave an indelible mark on the reader. Read this book to learn how to read critically and write with clarity and impact.
Barzun is absurdly eloquent and clear-headed. If you find yourself in the middle of a daunting project, or are just setting out to begin one, pick this up and turn to a random page. Barzun helps make the insanity of original research sound like a reasonable, sane process. A rock in the seastorm to cling to, so to speak.
I've only read a few pages and I can see I'm going to love this book, because Barzun starts right off stating that all non-fiction writing is about history. All of it!
808.02 BAR
Ref: Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
Standard Treatise for graduate students
Aug 23, 2007 John added it
Shelves: reference, writing
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Jacques Martin Barzun was a French-born American historian of ideas and culture.
More about Jacques Barzun...
From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers The House of Intellect A Jacques Barzun Reader Teacher in America

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