Today’s guest post is authored by Sean Trainor, a historian of the early American republic with an interest in the intersection of labor, popular culture, and the body. 836 more words
Sean Trainor has posted an article at the Junto where he writes about how quantitative analysis changed the way he viewed his historical research project. Trainor originally wanted to study the decline in men's barbershops between 1800-1860. Throughout this period, his sources suggested that barbershops were slowly disappearing because of the introduction of cheap razors and the growing popularity of beards. But his project changed after sought to calculate the number of barbershops using quantitive analysis. He quickly realized that his original hypothesis flawed. While barbershops declined between 1800 and 1840, he noticed a meaningful increase in the number barbershops in after 1840. Instead of looking solely at the decline of barbershops he realized that he needed to update his thesis and re-conceptualize his project. One of the potentially most exciting and frightening parts of any research project is when you realize that your initial assumptions were wrong. Trainor describes in the post what happened when he went through this process. It is a great post.