Historiography: Historiography

This guide provides some basic tips and resources to find historiographical essays and trace how citations in historical writings.


Historiography is the study of how historians interpreted historical events. It is through this study of secondary sources that contemporary historians identify changes and trends in the profession and historical conclusions. Mastering historiography is a foundational activity of graduate education in history.   This guide provides suggestions in both how to find historiographies and methods to gather sources to write a historiography. The tools and tips presented here are just starting points. Please contact me if you need additional assistance.

Searching for Historiographical Articles

One of the best ways to find historiographical articles is to search either America, History and Life or Historical Abstracts, the two databases focused on historical scholarship. The two keywords that tell the database to retrieve this type of article are historiograph* (the * will return all versions of the term) and "review essay." Type these in one line and use the Boolean connector "or" between them.   In the next line type the subject. If the initial search doesn’t work, consider broadening the term. 


Historiography Journals

There are no journals specializing in historiography. Below are a few journals that frequently contain this type of scholarship. For Americanists, searching "Reviews in American History" is always worth the effort. Remember too that focused journals often print historiographies related to their subject matter. 

KU Catalog

The majority of historiography is written in journal articles.  Still, it is worth searching the KU Catalog for relevant resources.  Use the advanced search screen to search historiography and the desired subject. 

Blackwell Companions

Blackwell Companions explore the historiography of varied topics, time periods, and geographical locations. Each volume contains lengthy and relatively up-to-date historiogaphies. The links below are to various subsets of the series. Please note that it is hard to tell from the series title what topics it includes--poke around at all the titles until you find what you need.

Subject Guide

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Sara Morris
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Reference Books

Cambridge Histories