Comparative method in historical sciences and teaching
AbstractThe comparative method plays an important role in historical cognition. Firstly, comparison gives the opportunity to understand better the essence of phenomena. Secondly, while comparing, a researcher goes beyond a narrow topic, uses additional empirical material and eventually expands his scientific outlook and creative range. The latter is one of the main indicators of the scholar’s scientific qualification. Thirdly, the comparative method improves a dialectical view of phenomena and processes, since it is focused on examining them in contradictions and development.Use of the comparative method requires a researcher to adhere to the basic historical methodological principles. At first, to operate not with the individual, selected and favorable facts, but with the whole set of different and sometimes contradictory facts, since even the most obvious facts, when taken out of the context, can give the wrong picture (the principle of consistency). At second, to avoid political, ideological, religious and other conjuncture and at the same time to take into account the subjective component of any historical works and written sources (the principle of objectivity). At third, to take into account a particular historical era, its laws, ethical norms and traditions (the principle of historicism) while analyzing facts, phenomena and the behavior of historical characters. At fourth, to take into account the specific historical conditions and circumstances, comparing phenomena and processes, not to make conclusions about their identity on the basis of external, accidental similarity. At fifth, to take for the comparison the facts, which are of the same dimension, if the comparison is carried out horizontally, and, on the contrary, to compare the similar phenomena, if the comparison is carried out vertically, i.e., in different time frames (the principle of comparability).The special significance of the comparative method is because of the fact that it is not only a scientific, but also a didactic method. Teaching of historical disciplines in both secondary and higher schools allows:1) the visualization, better memorization of educational material, which becomes even better in case of making a comparative table and especially with the participation of students (pupils) in the practical class;2) the repetition of the studied material;3) the reliance on previous knowledge;4) the formation of the skills of scientific analysis, generalization, selection of typical and special knowledge by students (pupils);5) the formation of dialectical thinking.
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