A PAPER SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF BENIN, BENIN CITY, NIGERIA
IN PARTIAL FULFULMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE AWARD OF M.A. HISTORY
COURES TITLE: METHODS OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH (HIS 811)
DR. E. A. IFIDON
In the past, much has been said about quantitative approach to the study of past event. Quantification was a subject of some controversy occasionally heated, among historians. The more aggressive advocates of quantification promised that its use in historical investigation would have a revitalizing and revolutionary impact, one that would move historical studies beyond the impressionist and episodic and would produce more reliable, more respectable and more relevant knowledge of the past.1
There was some effort, in the interest of conferring legitimacy, to demonstrate that even great American historians of earlier years made use of quantitative methods and materials in their work. On the other hand critics were equally certain that quantification would dehumanize history, sacrifice the rich variety of the past, and, produce works devoid of interest value or genuine understanding, although disagreement remain, controversy concerning the use of quantification in historical studies is now a thing of the past,2
There are at least three ways of visualizing the application of quantitative methods to economic history. The first illustrates the historical narrative with statistical data, to characterize the structures under scrutiny, to explain an evolution in a certain period, or to illustrate the relation between two or more series of facts.3
The second concept is known as the “new economic history”, “econometrics history”, or “cliometrics”. This concept stresses the importance of measurement and of the links between measurement and theory. It identify the variable...