When studying the evolution of some concept in the history of mathematics, is there some established practice or methodology for selecting the corpus of texts to work with, or at least for selecting a list of mathematicians to consider?

For example, when looking at the evolution of the concept of a function from the 18th to the beginning of 20th centuries, I looked at the work of Euler, Lagrange, Cauchy, Riemann, Jordan, Goursat, Carathéodory, but this selection is rather arbitrary.

How do historians of mathematics approach their studies?

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    $\begingroup$ I looked at the work of Euler, Lagrange, Cauchy, $[\ldots]$ --- I think almost no one begins investigating the history of some mathematical notion by first looking at the publications of mathematicians who worked on that topic, at least not unless it's a very, very specialized topic (such as 1 or 2). Instead, you begin with what's called the secondary literature, such as given here for functions. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2023 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ Go with Leibniz (that was before Euler). He already talks of functions, although in his terminology he was talking more about a functional relation than what we would call a function today. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2023 at 15:09


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