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Helping make the leap to higher study

6 February 2017

Book cover
A Practical Guide to Studying History

University’s inspiring history teaching shapes new guide for next generation of students

The inspiring teaching of History at the University has led to a major new guide helping the transition to studying history at degree level. A Practical Guide to Studying History: Skills and Approaches features three sections. Framing Histories covers topics including Nations and People's History; The Historian's Craft includes subjects from Historical Research to Reading and Writing History; and History in Public spans subjects from History in Schools to Taking History into the World.

The new guide has evolved from the teaching of History in Practice, a compulsory module for first year History students at the University. Bridging the gap between further and higher education in History, it introduces the concepts of historical debate and the diversity of historical producers and audiences, and provides guidance on study skills, including useful study questions and further reading lists.

Editor Dr Tracey Loughran explains the scope of the new publication: “The book explores areas such as the concepts of historical objectivity, frameworks and debate, and explains the differences in aims, methods and audiences for different types of history. It sets out to help students to develop essential practical skills, including reading historical writing critically, writing good essays, and participating in historical debates. We hope that by using case studies from a broad range of time periods and regions, we can make the past come alive for students.”

Senior Lecturer in Medical History, Dr Loughran adds: “The guide is a real testament to the passion and enthusiasm of History scholars at Cardiff, and a strong commitment to training new generations of historians. We aim not only to help students achieve the best possible History degree, but to foster a critical and engaged frame of mind that will help them to challenge accepted wisdom. This book should encourage students to believe that understanding the past is a crucial tool for understanding the world today, and taking action to change it."

The chronological range of the book spans ancient, medieval, early modern and modern history. Fourteen historians from the School have contributed chapters. Dr Lloyd Bowen, Dr Federica Ferlanti, Professor Helen Nicholson, Professor Kevin Passmore, Dr Toby Thacker, Dr Shaun Tougher, Professor Keir Waddington, Professor Garthine Walker, Dr Stephanie Ward, Dr Mark Williams, Dr Martin Wright and Dr David Wyatt are among the contributors.

Presenting a further four chapters are scholars from Royal Holloway, Lincoln University, the University of Essex and alumna Siobhan McGurk, who is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The new guide has received wide acclaim among the academic community.

Praised as "lively, engaging, sophisticated guide to the pleasures and perils of historical work" supporting historians who are skilled at communicating their craft with real clarity (Professor Matt Cook, Birkbeck), it has been called "a must for history undergraduates" (Professor Stefan Berger, Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and "essential reading for every student embarking on a history degree" (Dr Ultán Gillen, Teesside).

Out now, A Practical Guide to Studying History: Skills and Approaches is published by Bloomsbury.