History at Leicester

Counting sources

There are many historians who take a ‘quantitative’ approach to history. This essentially involves the numerical analysis of historical evidence. This might involve information that was collected in the past, such as financial data from company accounts, or it might involve counting up sources themselves – the number of bastardy bonds from a region might, for instance, be taken as an indicator of the level of extra-marital childbirth.

Undertaking quantitative analysis is not as simple as putting data into a spreadsheet and making a few calculations. We need to decide what information we are going to use.

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