Some of the important areas of research in history are given below:
Research has to be distinguished from the intelligence amassing. Intelligence-amassing is not the same as research.
Although, it comprises the “What” questions- those that require careful definitions of terms, unbiased collection of information, meticulous statistical treatment and careful summarizing to get a balanced description of the situation that gives a proper picture e.g., age, educational qualifications, income etc.
Research goes beyond description and requires analysis, looking for explanations, relationships, comparisons, predictions, generalization and theories- the “Why” questions.
The intelligence amassing is used for the purpose of developing e.g., why do the literary rate of women lesser than men in India? Such research questions have comparisons in them as the word “Less”, “declined” or increase indicate. Such explanations should be appropriate and applicable in all fitting situation.
Historical research is digging into the past events as fully as they must have happened, to explain the meaning and significance of those events, to correct the wrong notions so long prevalent if and.
It is to elaborate, analyse synthesize and philosophies the idea in the light of the knowledge we possess. Historical research can constitute either all or any of the following three important activities:
(i) Addition of New Area.
(ii) New interpretation of known data.
(iii) Subordination of the data to a principle.
Addition of New Area:
In this type of research researcher simply adds some new information, some new facts or ideas. Researcher’s intensive research, inquiry and investigation brings to light something new that was not known before. Until the 19th century ancient Indian history offered rich scope for research in this direction, for scores of dynasties remained unknown hundreds of monarchs and their ministers and other great personages did not exist in the memory of man and numerous aspects of man’s activity had been totally forgotten.
As Princes deciphered the “Brahmi” script, it was a fascinating venture that thrilled the scholars to discover the Indian past. In other words, this type of research in history involves a keen perception of what is wanting, what is know and what remains to be known and then bringing out what had remained unknown.
New Interpretation of known Data:
The second type of activity or research in history is little more difficult. It involves interpretation, elaboration, explanation, evaluation and critical examination of known facts. In this research, the physical search of new data is not as important as an intensive mental activity to subject known data to a very critical and analytical scrutiny so that a new and a different version altogether presented e.g., the medieval history of India written by the foreign historians required a new study. So, it is the job of researcher to remove such misconception and distortion of facts and they complete it through interpretative history.
Subordination of the Data to a Principle:
The subordination of the data to a principle is the most difficult one activity which would elevate a scholar to the dignity of a meta-historian. In this research, philosophy is involved where by scholar presses all the information he possesses to yield a certain historical conclusion in the form of £ principle or a doctrine.
He analyses all the facts with the intension of subordinating them to a general law “why” and “how” historical forces behave in a particular manner. Years of analysis would required to come out upto the level of throwing up a theory.
Either through the deductive or inductive method he comes out with a bold generalization and earn the title of meta-historian or a philosopher of a history. Hegel, Marx, Comte, Croce, Toynbee Spengler and host of other have come out with their own theories which are the product of original research.