What are Heuristics? Historical Research Methods, Definitions, & Examples

Heuristics – Will Sinaumed’s do research or even work on a thesis project related to history? If so, then Sinaumed’s needs to start getting acquainted and learning heuristic terms. In history, the term heuristic is a research method.

In order to be able to do good research on historical topics, Sinaumed’s needs to understand heuristic research methods well first. The following is an explanation of the meaning, examples of the application of the method and the types that need to be known. Listen to the end of the article!

Definition of Heuristics

Literally, heuristic comes from the Greek word heuriskein which means to find. In general, heuristics can be interpreted as an art or a science that has to do with a new discovery or a solution that can solve a problem.

According to other sources, heuristics are described as a way to show the thoughts that are owned by someone, so that person can solve a problem and the problem can be completed and completed immediately.

In history, this term is known as one of the research methods and is defined as a series of stages in the process of collecting sources from various types of research data related to research topics regarding socio-culture, customs, social stratification and daily interactions obtained through observation, documentation, interviews and so on.

Simply put, a heuristic is a simple and efficient rule that is commonly used by humans to be able to form judgments on something and can also be used to make a decision.

Meanwhile in historical science, there is also the term historical technique. This term can also be referred to as a heuristic method. By using the application of heuristic techniques, one can solve a problem, find something and make a decision.

Apart from being general, experts also express their own opinions such as J. Rainer. Although heuristics are generally defined as part of historical science, J. Rainer has a different opinion.

Rainer argues that heuristics is not part of a science, but an art. He argues that heuristics is a skill that is used to find something, review bibliographies and can also be used to correct a collection of notes.

For J. Reiner, heuristics is a method used by someone by involving the skills they have to find something that has a relationship with history or events that have been missed.

These skills, can make someone write a review on a bibliography. At the same time analyzing, finding and correcting records of events that have occurred.

Understanding According to Experts

Apart from J. Rainer, other experts also expressed their opinion about the definition of heuristics.

1. Carrad

Heuristics according to Carrad is a first step that is used to obtain sources or origins, materials and data related to history that can be used in activities that will be or are being carried out.

2. Dudung Abdulrahman

In his book published in 1990, Dudung Abdurahman argues that heuristics is a research technique used in historiography through the skills to find, recognize and detail certain topics using small notes.

3. Sjamsudin

Sjamsudin argues that heuristics is the first step used in historical research to obtain research data.

Currently, more identical heuristics are used in research activities. Heuristic skills can help someone to find important historical data that is considered relevant to the research topic.

When studying history, researchers need strong evidence to be able to draw a conclusion. Because these findings will be published and known by the general public, researchers cannot simply conclude from opinions, opinions or estimates.

Researchers must find a basis and concrete evidence. In the process of finding this evidence, the heuristic skills possessed by researchers are needed. Heuristics can also help find data properly and accurately, so that research results can be justified.

Types of Heuristics

Along with its development, heuristics can then be referred to as one of the historical sources, because heuristics is a process to find historical evidence and form a series of events that are concrete and have happened before.



1. Types of Heuristics Based on Their Nature

In its application, heuristics can be divided into two types according to their nature. Here’s an explanation.

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a. Primary source

The first type of heuristic is primary sources, namely a series of historical sources obtained directly from people or actors who have experienced these historical events. For example, when compiling a biography of a character, researchers can obtain data through direct interviews with that character. The data obtained through interviews with figures can be referred to as primary sources.

Primary sources are not only obtained through interviews with direct actors, but can also be obtained through other valid sources such as photos, manuscripts, diaries and even videos.

b. Secondary source

Secondary sources are a series of historical sources that are obtained not from direct actors or people who experience that history, but through other people who are close to that person, the perpetrator’s family or someone who is directly involved in and experiences the event.

All sources of data submitted apart from figures who experienced history themselves were included in secondary sources. For example, when a researcher writes a biography of a character who has died, it is impossible for the researcher to get secondary sources. However, researchers can obtain secondary sources by interviewing the closest people, family and looking for other historical sources about the figure.

Secondary sources in heuristics can also take the form of research reports, encyclopedias, books, field notes and others. So that secondary sources actually have a broader form than primary sources and can be utilized by researchers.

2. Types of Heuristics Based on Historical Sources

Based on the form of historical sources, heuristics are divided into three. Here’s an explanation.

a. Written sources

As the name implies, written sources in heuristics are historical sources that are written or in written form. Examples include the text of the agreement, diary, minutes and so forth.

b. Oral sources

Historical sources can also be obtained verbally from interviews with figures, relatives or by listening to stories from people who live in the historical sites being studied.

c. Relics

The third type of heuristic based on historical sources is relics with certain shapes and types. Examples include ancient objects, artifacts, bones and others.

Heuristic Strategy

Heuristics are not only used for historical scientific research activities. Heuristic skills are also applied in learning activities. When used to support learning activities, lecturers and teachers can choose one of two heuristic strategies. The following is an explanation of the heuristic strategy.

1. Discovery ( Discovery )

According to Suryosubroto, the first strategy in heuristic skills is discovery. Finding is a teaching procedure that emphasizes individual teaching, before finally arriving at generalizations.

So that with this discovery method, a teacher can focus on just one student to find out student problems in the learning process. At the same time to ensure that students can absorb learning material well.

Meanwhile, in heuristic expertise research activities with the discovery method is a process to find historical sources by searching for these historical sources. For example, looking for historical relics in the library for secondary sources in the form of writing.

2. Investigation ( Inquiry )

According to Wina Sanjaya, the inquiry strategy in the learning method is a method that emphasizes student activity to be active in critical and analytical thinking processes.

Meanwhile in research activities, the method of inquiry or inquiry is a process of inquiry to obtain various valid data sources. To obtain it, it can be done by collecting all data sources and conducting interviews or so on.

Section in Heuristic Strategies

Aside from being a learning method, heuristic strategies as problem solvers for a study can be divided into four parts, including availability, representativeness, familiarity and adjustment or restraint. Here’s an explanation.

1. Availability

The availability heuristic operates on the idea that if something can be recalled, then it is something that is important or at least has a more important value than an alternative solution in order to be easy to remember, because information is easy to get.

2. Representation

Used when researchers make judgments about the subjective probability of an event or information by determining the extent to which the event has similar characteristics or whether the event can reflect the salient features of a resulting process.

3. Adjustment and retention

Used to influence the way people intuitively judge probabilities. Where one would start from an implicitly suggested reference point and use it to make adjustments to arrive at an estimate of additional information.

4. Familiarity

Defined to assess an important event, because it is more familiar in memory. The familiarity heuristic is based on the use of schemes as well as past actions.

Stages of Heuristic Research

In addition to these two heuristic strategies, in conducting historical research using heuristic methods, researchers must know and understand the stages of research using heuristic methods. Here’s an explanation.

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1. Determine the theme and title of the research

The theme and title of the research are the first things that must be determined in the research. Not only in historical research, but also research with other sciences. The theme taken by the researcher must have a relationship with historical events and be known by the general public.

Examples include the history of the development of the city of Jakarta from the Dutch colonial era to the present or other themes regarding Indonesian history. There are many historical events that can be used as topics or friends for historical research. If confused, Sinaumed’s can try to adjust to the references that are the most numerous or easy to find or adjust to Sinaumed’s’ wishes and mastery of the subject matter.

2. Looking for historical data sources

After determining the theme and title of the research, Sinaumed’s needs to find historical sources. Historical sources in heuristic research methods can be found from various sources according to their type, such as primary and secondary sources. Sinaumed’s can also combine various forms of sources to complement research data.

Because one research theme can have several historical sources in various forms, so combining historical sources will strengthen Sinaumed’s’ research data.

3. Visit the event location

Historical sources cannot be obtained only by looking for one secondary source. So, Sinaumed’s also needs to find primary sources by visiting the location of the event. Thus, Sinaumed’s as a researcher will find more and more complex sources. For example, if Sinaumed’s takes the theme of Majapahit history research, then Sinaumed’s can visit East Java or Mojokerto or other places that were previously known to be the location of the Majapahit kingdom.

4. Review and analyze historical sources

The most important stage in research is studying and analyzing all historical sources that have been collected by researchers. Then Sinaumed’s, as a researcher, needs to systematically discuss these historical sources one by one. For example, starting from explaining the date of the event under study, its causes and solutions to solve it when the event took place.

5. Compile a report based on the analysis of historical sources

The final stage in the preparation of research using the heuristic method is compiling a report from the analysis of historical sources, in the form of a scientific article. If Sinaumed’s conducts the research as a final coursework such as a thesis, then Sinaumed’s needs to prepare a report according to the general thesis writing rules.

Examples of Heuristics in Research

From the explanation above, is Sinaumed’s still confused about how to apply heuristic methods in historical research? If you are still confused, here are examples of heuristics in research that Sinaumed’s needs to know about.

To apply the heuristic method in a study, Sinaumed’s needs to choose themes and titles that have a relationship with history. An example is the history of the growth of the Majapahit Kingdom in Indonesia, as it is known that Majapahit was the largest kingdom in Indonesia at its time.

Therefore, in the research process, Sinaumed’s needs to find sources that explain about the Majapahit Kingdom systematically. Such as the process of birth, when the existence of the Majapahit Kingdom began to be built until the times of the kingdom’s collapse. This entire process must be carried out until it reaches the process of compiling a historical report on the Majapahit Kingdom.

Another example of heuristics in research is the bombing of Hiroshima City. When making a research title, it is better for Sinaumed’s to compose a detailed and conical title, so that the research discussion is clear on the topic. For example “The Hiroshima City Bombing on August 6, 1945” with that title, the following is writing research systematically using heuristic methods.

Looking for historical sources that explain the warrant for the bombing of the City of Hiroshima issued on August 5, 1945. Include photos of the atomic bomb with the nickname little boy that was dropped on the City of Hiroshima. Explains who are the historical perpetrators of the Hiroshima City bombing and one of them is an airplane pilot named Enola Gay Paul Tibbet. Describes the plane driven by Enola Gay as a form of historical heritage from the bombing of Hiroshima City.

After obtaining these historical sources, it is important for Sinaumed’s as a researcher to verify the research data. So that the research results are valid and can be accounted for.

That is the explanation of heuristics as a method of historical research. If Sinaumed’s is still confused about heuristics or wants to find out more about other research methods in other disciplines, Sinaumed’s can find out by reading books related to research methods.

Sinaumed’s can get books related to heuristics at sinaumedia.com . As #Friends Without Limits, sinaumedia always provides a variety of books according to Sinaumed’s’ needs, including information about research methods, so that you have #MoreWithReading information.