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Part IA Evidence and Argument

Evidence and Argument is a bespoke paper for History and Politics students which is designed to provide an introduction to key concepts, approaches, and methods from across the two disciplines. 

Both the History Faculty and the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge are unusually broad and eclectic in their interests and approaches. In History, interests range from the traditional realm of ‘high’ politics to social and cultural history, the history of political thought, and the use of quantitative data to reconstruct economic and demographic changes which stretch across decades or even centuries. Some Politics lecturers see themselves as ‘political scientists’, developing theories and models which seek to explain processes of political change, whilst others eschew social science and focus on understanding the meanings and intentions of political actors. Why do these disciplinary choices matter? How do they shape the kinds of evidence we use and the arguments we construct? 

Evidence and Argument explores these questions through six case studies – of archives and manuscripts, visual sources, quantitative history, the comparative method, electoral behaviour, and ‘texts in time’ – based on original sources and ongoing research projects in Cambridge. It is taught through eight classes spread across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term, together with 32 lectures. 

Evidence and Argument will be examined through a Long Essay of 3,000-4,000 words and a 1.5-hour written paper.


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