This text examines the origins, purposes, methods and pitfalls of quantitative approaches to history and introduces students to some of the most commonly used tools and techniques, including computer-aided research methods. It situates quantitative history within the wider realm of, and debates surrounding, historical methods. It emphasizes the historian's problems of gathering reliable quantitative evidence and making decisions about suitable techniques and the acceptability and interpretation of results. Various methods used in the display and analysis of data are clearly explained from the formation of various figures, graphs and tables to regression, time series analysis, sampling theory and practice, and economic methods. The book assumes no prior statistical knowledge and includes a wide range of illustrative material drawn from current historical research in social, economic and political history.
"This book deserves to be read carefully and thoughtfully by all historians. The approach is sensible, in no way triumphalist, but it clearly demonstrates the need for, and value of, even a modest level of quantitative skill." --The Royal Economic Society
"A new, accessible text in this field is overdue. Hudson's book has the characteristic merits of her work: it is clear without over-simplifying, and it locates quantitative techniques within a properly historical framework of understanding." --Professor David Eastwood, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board at the University of East Anglia
"Critical where necessary and alive to the difficulties which its readers may experience." --English Historical Review