“Historical method refers to the use of primary historical data to answer a question. Because the nature of the data depends on the question being asked, data may include demographic records, such as birth and death certificates; newspapers articles; letters and diaries; government records; or even architectural drawings.
The use of historical data poses several broad questions:
1. Are the data appropriate to the theoretical question being posed?
2. How were these data originally collected, or what meanings were embedded in them at the time of collection?
3. How should these data be interpreted, or what meanings do these data hold now?"
See Tuchman (2004)