HIST 500 Historical Research Methods


External and internal evidence

When looking at historical data, isn’t it important that you consider both the external and internal evidence?

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Let’s take an example of a historical incident that was interpreted differently by two sources or one common opinion from different eras.

Consider how the interpretations of these evidence were affected by both internal and external evidence.



The evidence in an internal case is the evidence that has been used and retained by the client, while external evidence is evidence that has been obtained from outside the client.

Citing both evidence makes it difficult to argue or defend against.

The use of both types of evidence has been proven active and extensively used by the United States of America courts (Leshuga (2015)).

Patricia Beard was murdered in 1981. This case was solved in 2016.

Patricia Beard was found lying face down on her mattress with her robe exposed.

Officers found a used Tampon near Patricia Beard’s body, as well as an open window that was used to infer that Hector Bencomo Hinojos was the murder suspect.

Roberts, 2013. The victim was found with a severe laceration in her breast, extensive bleeding around her neck, and a fractured bone which led to her death.

Because of the lack of modern technology in forensic science, detectives were unable to reach a conclusion regarding the murder suspect and the item used.

Nearly three decades later, forensic scientists were able to match DNA samples from a virginal trade to the prime suspect to provide internal evidence.

They also included the testimony of the suspect’s wife, who claimed that the suspect was abusive to her and frequently assaulted.

This brought an end to the over 30 year old murder case. It included both internal and exterior evidence.

Refer to

Cold case Patricia Beard.

Roberts (2013, July 23). Hector Bencomo -hinojos is arrested for the brutal murder Patricia Beard-1981.

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