Quantitative History

Margo Anderson

Quantitative history is the term for an array of skills and techniques used to apply the methods of statistical data analysis to the study of history. Sometimes also called cliometrics by economic historians, the term was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s as social, political and economic historians called for the development of a ‘social science history’, adopted methods from the social sciences, and applied them to historical problems. These historians also called for social scientists to historicize their research and consciously examine the temporal nature of the social phenomena they explored. For both types of questions, historians found that they needed to develop new technical skills and data sources. That effort led to an array of activities to promote quantitative history. Classical historical research methodology relies upon textual records, archival research and the narrative as a form of historical writing. The historian describes and explains particular phenomena and events, ...

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