7 junio, 2024

Historical research framework: characteristics, how it is done, examples

We explain what a historical research framework is, how it is done and we give several examples.

What is the historical research framework?

The historical framework in an investigation is the section of a work or research project that intends to describe the moment in history in which the object of study or topic to be dealt with is immersed. Establishing this framework is essential to understand the origin of this object of study, its evolution and its influence.

When defining the historical framework, aspects such as society, the economy, politics or the religious beliefs that were practiced must be taken into account. For this, reliable sources are used to provide the necessary information, both contemporary to the time in question and other investigations that have been carried out.

With all these data, the researcher will be able to interpret and analyze the fact that is being studied in a more objective way. According to some authors, the historical research framework also includes a retrospective analysis of the subject investigated. Therefore, it is important to accurately establish the time limit under study.

For example, if you are going to carry out a research project on Leonardo da Vinci, you would need to investigate what life was like in the Italian Renaissance, who held power or the economy of the time. With this, the researcher will be able to judge the artist’s work within a context and not according to current thinking.

Characteristics of the historical research framework

retrospective analysis

Establishing the historical framework of an investigation implies carrying out a retrospective analysis of the subject to be studied. This analysis should include past events related to the topic to be discussed and that have determined that it has reached the point it is in at the time that interests the researcher.

overall study

Within the historical framework there are various aspects that, all together, give a global vision of the time.

Thus, the conditions in which society lived, its religious beliefs, the economy and the political organization of the time must be studied.

The sources

The most important sources when establishing this type of framework are those that come from the time being studied. These can range from books to personal diaries, through official documents, memories or even objects such as clothing or tools.

Veracity of the sources

Another of the fundamental characteristics when developing the historical framework for any type of investigation is to ensure the veracity of the sources used. Among other aspects, it must be verified that the texts used are authentic and investigate their authors.

In addition, researchers often use other disciplines when establishing the historical framework. Depending on the type of study, it is common to turn to archeology or paleography. In other cases, they even analyze the way of writing or the dating of the paper to ensure its dating.

How is a historical research framework made?


The first thing a researcher must do is define the time period that interests him for his study. Establishing a time frame does not consist of carrying out a long-term study, but rather it is about relating the different stages that led the object studied to the state in which it is in that determined period.

If one is trying to establish the historical framework of the Renaissance, the researcher must mark its beginning. In this way, he will place it from the 15th century, although he should emphasize that some historians affirm that its earliest antecedents occurred in the 14th or even the 13th century.

This delimitation, in the case of the Renaissance, should not be only temporary. The researcher will have to point out its geographical origin, specifically in Venice, Florence, Milan and Rome, today in Italian territory.


Once the period is defined, the researcher will have to consult previous studies on the Renaissance, its causes and consequences.

In this case, the historical framework could indicate that its origin took place in a context in which the power of the Church was weakening, both due to the Protestant Reformation and for other causes. To this must be added the serious economic crisis that heralded the end of the feudal model.

This decline led many centers of power in Europe to evolve towards a different state model, with more power for the monarchs. The arts, for their part, began to recover the styles from classical antiquity.

Gather information

The next step in establishing the historical framework of the investigation is to gather all the information that is needed using reliable sources.

Following the example of the Renaissance, some of the questions that the researcher must take into account are: What historical moments were most important during that period? Who occupied the centers of power? What changes occurred in the way of thinking?, etc.

The answers obtained should be used in relation to the object of the study. For example, in the event that it is the changes in trade during this stage, it will be essential to know how the bourgeoisie appeared, analyze the decline of the feudal model or who benefited and suffered from the changes.

Comprehensive review

It is also important to thoroughly review the information obtained. Sometimes, despite the fact that the source is authentic, it can be subjective as it has been prepared by one of the parties interested in the matter.

For example, in commerce there may be conflicting information depending on whether it has been produced by Venice or by Genoa, two commercial powers with conflicting interests.

Examples of Historical Research Frameworks

In a research project on gender violence

In a project that investigates gender violence, the historical framework would have to begin by explaining the origin of this type of violence. In addition, it could develop the first laws and movements that have emerged to prevent it.

In a research project on COVID-19

In this case, it would be convenient to explain what was the first contagion detected, the country in which the first prevention measures were given and how it spread.

Economy during the Porfiriato in Mexico

In this case, the researcher must begin by delimiting the time to be studied: from the coming to power of Porfirio Díaz until the Mexican Revolution. He will also have to analyze what the economy was like before this period began.

Then you will have to study what Mexican society was like at the time and the changes that took place during the decades of the Porfiriato. Relations with the Church and with economic power groups will be other aspects to take into account.

Storming of the Bastille

If one is investigating the storming of the Bastille at the beginning of the French Revolution, the researcher should begin by studying how French society had reached the point that it provoked the insurrection against the monarchy.

Likewise, it is important that you study some of the main characters of the time, as well as the influence of the Enlightenment on the events studied.

Study of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

The work Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley in 1818, cannot be separated from the historical framework in which it was written. Thus, the researcher must study what I mean and the characteristics of the romantic movement of the early nineteenth century.

In addition, you will have to analyze the changes that were taking place in Europe due to the Industrial Revolution.


Summarize. Historical framework. Retrieved from resumenea.com
Moreno Galindo, Eliseo. Definition of historical framework. Retrieved from thesis-investigacion-cientifica.blogspot.com
Fleming, Grace. The Importance of Historic Context in Analysis and Interpretation. Retrieved from thoughtco.com
mometrix. Historical Context Definition. Retrieved from mometrix.com
Definition of. Historic context. Obtained from definition.de

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