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Evaluating EvidenceA Positivist Approach to Reading Sources on Modern Japan$
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George Akita

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824825607

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824825607.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Evaluating Evidence
Author(s):

George Akita

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824825607.003.0007

This introductory chapter explains the significance of documentary sources to the historian's craft, which leads to a commitment to do “history the old-fashioned way”—a positivist methodology to research and scholarship. This is an inductive process in which the scholar seeks out facts on the subject of interest and, through observation and analysis of an extensive body of data, is able to discern certain patterns. Whereas deductive reasoning starts with a proposition and seeks to test it through observation and data, inductive reasoning begins with observation and moves toward a proposition. The chapter further discusses the definition of positivism as it applies to humanistic studies, emphasizing the problems in such an approach while simultaneously vindicating its validity and relevance.

Keywords:   documentary sources, historians, positivist methodology, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, positivism, humanistic studies

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