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What are some disadvantages of historical research?

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Quick Answer

Disadvantages associated with historical research include bias, inaccessibility and incompleteness. Because many of the papers or references that are used were not originally intended to be researched, the information that is presented may be exaggerated in order to provide more interesting details about an account. In addition, certain books or articles may have not been preserved and therefore may be inaccessible or incomplete.

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Historical research may include autobiographies by famous people or diaries that cast the writer in a positive light. Therefore, the information is often based on an eyewitness account rather than on factual data. In addition, the research extracted may contain specific data that a researcher may not possess nor have experienced. Letters, for example, may assume a good deal of prior information on the part of the reader.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media profiles digital history on the web, saying that the ability to store digital media allows for better access to historic events and information. The added capacity supplied by bits and bytes enables historians to access videos, articles, images and a variety of documents. As a result, scholars, educators and the general public are able to review all kinds of data, thereby giving them the latitude to use media that is more reliable.

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