Document Type


Publication Date

February 2020


HISTORIANS’ TASKS, specifically their habits of mind, aremeaningful far beyond the scholarship they produce and far outsidethe discipline of history. Historians critically evaluate ambiguousand seemingly foreign situations. They consider and weigh thebest available evidence—some readily accessible, others obscure—which they rely upon to articulate findings. Historical inquiry, thus,involves gathering and reading documents; thinking carefully aboutwhat one knows, suspects, and cannot know; and communicatingsubstantiated understandings in a persuasive way. The necessaryhabits of mind—or heuristics—transfer to diverse occupations, likean attorney or detective, and are associated with citizenship tasks,like discerning fact from opinion in a campaign advertisement orbeing an informed voter. Historians’ heuristics prepare students forcollege, careers, and citizenship, which are central tenets of modemeducation initiatives.