What Is Writing In History By Mary Lynn Rampolla Summary

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In the book “Writing in History” by Mary Lynn Rampolla, in Chapter 1 “ Introduction: Why Study History?” states that we don’t study history for the facts, but to better understand the ideas and realities that shaped a society during that time. This why we ask questions such: Who? What? When? and Why? For example, that’s why history textbooks start every chapter with a questions . Rampolla states that there are two reason why should we even care to study the past: firstly, the past informs us how we arrived to be who we are today; secondly, we gain the ability to view events or situations through a different lens or another perspective than our own.
Rampolla states that there are several steps that are use to develop a good history paper or
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Primary sources are sources that develop during an event during a specific time and place; for example, of written documents: letters, diaries, newspapers and magazines articles, speeches, and etc; non-written documents: art, films, recording, tools, house objects, and etc. Examining the primary sources gives insight into the thoughts, behaviors, and experience of the people of the past. Secondary sources are texts that were synthesize, interpreted and analyzed by scholars that weren’t there in the event or period; for example: books, articles, or documentary films. Secondary sources are useful because they give an insight on how other scholars have understood and interpret the primary sources; it also gives an insight on the debate that the scholars are having among themselves on a subject. Tertiary sources are summarizes and synthesize of secondary sources: encyclopedias, dictionaries, and textbooks; which it’s not acceptable to depend on, but they are useful for leading us to secondary …show more content…
The example that Rampolla provides is “if you write about the reign of Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE), Suetonious’s ‘Lives of the Twelve Caesars’, written in the early second centruary CE, would be a secondary source because Suetonious was not a witness to the events he describes; however, if you write about the debates among second-century Romas about the use and abuse of imperial power, Suetonious’s would be a primary source" (Rampolla, 2015, p.10). The status of a source no matter if its primary or secondary, doesnt change where you get access to the source: printed book or website; but its up to the writer to evaluate the reliability and usefulness of the source. Asking questions helps to evaluate the sources; tips for of the questions for primary sources refer to the book pages 13-15: who is the author? When was the source published? Whos the intended audience? Determine the biases of the author helps to evaluate the source; for example, the language. Evaluating the editions and translations helps to evaluate the sources. Evaluating a secondary source has its own set of questions that you can find on page

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