Steps in Historical Research (Heuristics, Verification, Interpretation, and Historiography)

Steps in Historical Research (Heuristics, Verification, Interpretation, and Historiography)


- Past history is obtained through a research process. Research is carried out based on historical or historical disciplines so as to be able to find appropriate sources according to the topic being written. The form of historical research is related to the data collection method used.

In an effort to reveal history, we will get history as an event or event that has occurred within the scope of human life in the past which will leave historical evidence. Therefore, there are four stages of historical research that are specific (special) in historical research. The four stages are heuristics, verification, interpretation, and historiography.

1. Heuristics

Heuristic comes from the Greek word, heuriskein, which means to find. Heuristics, the meaning is the stage of searching, finding, and collecting sources of various data in order to be able to find out all forms of past historical events or incidents that are relevant to the research topic/title. To trace these sources, historians must be able to search various documents either through the library method or the national archives.

Historians can also visit historical sites or conduct interviews to complete data so that good and complete data is obtained, and can support the realization of a history that is closer to the truth. The past, which has many periods and many parts (such as politics, economics, social and culture), has various data sources, so it is necessary to classify data from these many sources.

Documents that have been collected are very valuable data. Documents can be a basis for tracing historical events that have occurred in the past. According to its nature there are two, namely primary sources and secondary sources.

Primary sources are sources created when events occur, such as colonial report documents. Primary sources are made by first hand, while secondary sources are sources that use primary sources as their main source. So, made by hand or second party. For example, books, theses, and theses.

If we get written sources, we will get contemporary and local written sources that have a relatively high degree of truth, as well as non-contemporary and non-local written sources that require the foresight of the researchers. From the sources found, historians conduct research.

Without historical sources, historians will have difficulty finding traces of history in human life. For oral sources, the selection of sources is based on actors or eyewitnesses to an incident. Oral sources who only heard or did not live contemporaneously with events cannot be used as oral sources.

2. Verify

Verification is an assessment of historical sources. Verification in history has the meaning of examining the truth of reports about a historical event. Assessment of historical sources involves external and internal aspects.

The external aspect raises the issue of whether the source is genuine or fake, so historians must be able to test the accuracy of these historical documents, for example, when the document was made, materials or document material. The internal aspect questions whether the content contained in the source can provide the required information. In this case, the internal aspect is the process of analyzing a document.

External aspects must be able to answer the following questions.

a. Is the source the desired source (authenticity)
b. Is the source original or derivative (originality)
c. Is the source intact or has it been altered (a matter of integrity)

After there is certainty that the source is the correct source needed in its original form and is still intact, internal criticism is carried out. Internal criticism is carried out to prove that the information contained in the source can be trusted, with an intrinsic assessment of the source and by comparing the testimonies of various sources.

The first step in intrinsic research is to determine the nature of the source (whether official/formal or informal/informal). In research

In history, unofficial/informal sources are considered more valuable than official sources because unofficial sources are not meant to be read by the general public (for free circles) so that their contents are straightforward, not much is hidden, and are objective.



The second step in intrinsic assessment is highlighting the author of the source because he or she provided the information needed. Source making must ensure that the testimony can be trusted. For this reason, one must be able to provide true testimony and must be able to explain why he or she covered up (kept secret) an event, or otherwise exaggerated because he had an interest in it.

The third step in intrinsic research is to compare testimonies from various sources by aligning the testimonies of witnesses who are not related to each other (independent witnesses) so that the information obtained is objective. An example is the occurrence of the March 1, 1949 General Attack in Yogyakarta.

Sources whose truth is acknowledged through verification or criticism, both internal and external, become facts. Facts are information about sources that are considered true by historians or historical researchers. Facts can be interpreted as selected sources.

3. Interpretation

Interpretation is interpreting historical facts and assembling these facts into a harmonious and coherent whole. Interpretation in history can also be interpreted as an interpretation of an event or providing a theoretical view of an event. History as an event can be recalled by historians through various sources, whether in the form of data, library documents, books, visits to historical sites or interviews, so that they can be collected and supported in the interpretation process.

Thus, after the criticism is complete, the next step is to interpret or interpret and analyze the data obtained from various sources. Interpretation in history is the interpretation of an event, historical fact, and assembling a fact in a coherent whole. Interpretation of facts must be logical to the entire context of events so that various facts that are independent of one another can be arranged and linked into a coherent whole.

For academics, in order to interpret facts with objective clarity, arbitrary interpretations must be avoided because they tend to be subjective. In addition, interpretation must be descriptive in nature so that academics are also required to find the basis for the interpretation they use. The interpretation process must also be selective because it is impossible for all facts to be included in historical stories, so they must be selected those that are relevant to the topic at hand and support historical truth.

4. Historiography

Historiography is the writing of history. Historiography is the final stage of research activities for historical writing. Writing historical stories is not just compiling and assembling research facts, but also conveying a thought through historical interpretation based on research facts.

For this reason, writing history requires skills and expertise. Historiography is a record of everything that is recorded as learning material about good behavior. After determining the title, collecting materials or sources and doing criticism and selection, then start writing historical stories.

There are three forms of historical writing based on space and time.

a. Traditional historical writing
Most of these works are strong on genealogy, but weak on chronology and biographical detail. The emphasis is on the use of history as material for teaching religion. The existence of kingship (the concept of a king), cosmological and anthropological considerations take precedence over explanations of causation.

b. Colonial history
writing This writing has Dutch-centric (eurocentric) characteristics, the emphasis is on political and economic aspects and is institutional in nature.

c. Writing national history
The writing uses the scientific method skillfully and aims at the interests of nationalism. According to Taufik Abdullah and Surjomihardjo, there are three historical writings in Indonesia, namely ideological history, inheritance history, and academic history.
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