HIST1505 - Introduction to Historical Theory and Methods


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: School exam
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
School exam 100/100 4 hours E

Course content

The course provides an overview of what is history, how it is produced and how it is used. By exploring the historian’s toolkit, the course therefore sheds light on how our understanding of the past emerges. As well as discussing the development of the field of history and different historiographical debates, the course introduces students to what historians do: coming up with historical questions, finding historical sources, analysing historical information (both qualitative and quantitative) and write history. Importantly, questions regarding research ethics and historical consciousness (including the concept of historical empathy) are also discussed. By the end of the course, it is expected that students are not only able to analyse different empirical sources, but also to have a comprehensive picture of what is history, including the challenges and joys that historians face in their daily work.

Learning outcome

A candidate who passes this course is expected to have the following learning outcome:


The candidate

  • should be able to explain how knowledge about the past is obtained and constructed and how sources should be contextually situated
  • should be conscious of how different sources (including digital sources) should be evaluated with a source critical approach
  • should have an overview over the main features in the development of history as a science
  • should know central theoretical and methodological concepts about how history is written and researched
  • should have knowledge of how history is written (constructed) from the source material, secondary literature up to the basic structures of historical narratives and analyses
  • should know the main problems that come with the use of historical knowledge


The candidate

  • should understand and master source criticism
  • should be able to distinguish between different categories of sources
  • should be able to search for, find and assess relevant sources for historical research
  • can put together basic historical representations based on a limited source material
  • can analyze historical texts and understand the reasoning, use of sources and structure
  • have foundational skills in interpreting and utilising historical statistics, tables, and visual presentations in a historical context
  • can present and discuss basic theoretical and methodical questions by using terms from the field of history

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and mandatory exercises in group sessions and/or written assignments. The format of the excercises is announced in Blackboard at the beginning of the semester. Four-hour final exam.

Compulsory assignments

  • Group lessons with a obligatory paper

Required previous knowledge


Course materials

See syllabus

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Foundation courses, level I


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2023

Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • History
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Historical and Classical Studies


Examination arrangement: School exam

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD School exam 100/100 E 2023-11-29 09:00 PAPIR
Room Building Number of candidates
Storhall del 2 Idrettssenteret (Dragvoll) 180
SL238 Sluppenvegen 14 4
DI42 Idrettssenteret (Dragvoll) 2
Spring ORD School exam 100/100 E 2024-06-05 15:00 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
SL111 blå sone Sluppenvegen 14 18
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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