HIST 91

strategies & tools for doing research

fall 2017

Sarah Elichko
Sara Powell

first:


➡️ PollEv.com/sarapowell281

Jaenicke, Hannah. "Lines in the Sand: Deconstructing the Construction of the Indo-Pakistani Border." BA thesis, Haverford College. 2010.

As far as you can tell, how did Hannah access these primary sources?

Feeling overwhelmed? Check out the HIST 091 Research Guide

➡️libguides.brynmawr.edu/history091

 

  • "Finding Primary Sources": where/how to look, broken down by source type
     
  • secondary sources: identifying previous scholarship on your topic + finding articles & monographs
     
  • tips for citing & organizing sources

material culture

(art, objects, buildings)

🎨 🛏️ 🕰️ 📮 🕌

 

government records
(reports, debates, transcripts of hearings)

🏛️ 🇧🇷 🗣️

 

personal papers

(letters, diaries, scrapbooks)

💌 📔 🏷️ 🗺️  

museums
digital exhibits and collections
image databases
catalogs and books

 

library collections (print, online)
online databases
websites (.gov, Hathi Trust)

 

archives
special collections (departments)
edited collections (books)
digital exhibits and collections

source type/genre            where to find it

popular media

(newspapers, magazines, radio)

📰 📻 

 

specialized periodicals
(trade + scholarly journals)

📒📒📒

 

organizational records

(office memos, meeting minutes)

🏢 🗒️ 📆 

scanned, searchable in databases
indexing for individual articles
print copies (often bound)
microfilm


online databases (scanned or indexed)
print copies (often bound)
microfilm

 

archives and special collections
online databases [example]
organizational websites (current, Wayback)

source type/genre            where to find it

Sources, questions, and project mapping

➡️ Coggle.it

+ log in with Swarthmore Google account

create a "mind map" of your research, focusing on types of primary sources you think will be useful (work on this for 5 min)

Now that you've identified some potential primary source genres, let's try finding some.

 

On the "Finding Primary Sources" page of the Research Guide, choose one of the following source types:

  • Primary sources in archives & special collections

  • Historical newspapers & magazines -- choose world or US history

  • Letters, personal narratives, and other sources -- edited collections

  • U.S. government documents (under "Various primary sources available online")

Following instructions & tips on these pages, spend 7 minutes finding source(s) relevant to your own topic.

Okay, now get into groups with 2-3 students who chose different sources to look up. Spent 5 minutes discussing your results.

What did you find? What were you surprised to learn or find? What were the difficulties? Do you have any search tips to share?

Organizing your research
(strategies + tools for historians)

• Document your process

• Save consistently

• Annotate sources

Three ways to stay organized
while doing research: 

{ ideas, searches, sources }

{ done & to-do }

{ while you still remember }

Document Your Process

As you work, keep a research log.

- Today's date

- What did you do today?
- What are your next steps? (however tentative)

{ Tools }
• Google doc, Word doc, notebook, Simplenote
• Browser history, search history

 

Save Consistently

Be predictable
Decide on and stick to a system that is easy and reliable.


Label everything 
Include enough information so you can recognize sources at a glance.  (even a few weeks later)

{ Tools }
• Zotero - bit.ly/zotero-setup

       -  One place to save sources + citations

       -  Sort, categorize, tag sources
       -  Generates formatted citations

 

Annotate Sources

Source notes
Why does this document seem (potentially) relevant?

Write it down now, while you still remember.

Categorizing sources

It can be helpful to sort your potential sources into categories (by topic, by potential use, etc.) 

{ Tools }
• Zotero -- tags, folders  ("collections")

• Coggle -- create groups of sources, authors

 

"a deceptively modest name for a complex technology that has come to play an evidentiary role in scholarship"

- search

Ted Underwood, "Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago" (2014)

“The search terms I have chosen encode a tacit hypothesis...and I feel my hypothesis is confirmed when I get enough hits. “

-- Ted Underwood, "Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago" (2014)

Why does search matter?

“I’ve used algorithms to explore a big dataset, and the search process may well have shaped my way of framing the subject, or my intuitions about the representativeness of sources.”

“The search terms I have chosen encode a tacit hypothesis...and I feel my hypothesis is confirmed when I get enough hits. “

-- Ted Underwood, "Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago" (2014)

Why does search matter?

“I’ve used algorithms to explore a big dataset, and the search process may well have shaped my way of framing the subject, or my intuitions about the representativeness of sources.”

Complexities of searching for historical sources...

"If, for example, I wanted to find out more about the island from which [Sir Walter] Raleigh penned his letter, what name should I keyword search? Saint Christopher, St. Christopher, Saint Christophe, St. Kitts, or San Christoval?"

Finding information on Providence Island in the AGI [Archivo General de Indias, in Sevilla] is impossible unless one knows that the Spanish referred to it as Santa Catalina."

• Multiple names +    

   terms
• Changes over time
• Varying spellings,
   transliterations,    

   translations
• OCR

- Casey Schmitt, Love Letters and the Digital Turn (The Junto)

What does this mean for you?

Think about the terms you're using, and how they might be influencing your work.

     (what you read + your sense of what's available)

Articulate a range of possible keywords and try them.

     (Background reading can be useful)


Pay attention (avoid searching by reflex)

      - How did the research tool use your search terms?

      - Can you adjust this?  (e.g. grouping terms)

Primary sources you already have:

• Go back to a primary source you found earlier.

• Look for possible search terms.

• Add a branch to your project map for search terms and write these down.

Research tools with controlled vocabularies:

• Searching Worldcat.org + Tripod

Finding Search Suggestions

Navigating historical scholarship

Key research tools:

JSTOR, America History & Life, Historical Abstracts

Navigating historical scholarship

Key research tools:

JSTOR, America History & Life, Historical Abstracts

SU chicago AND ( ("historiography" OR "bibliographies" OR "review essay" OR "review essays" OR "review article" OR "review articles") )

Next steps:

• Talk with a Sara(h) about your project.

• Use the Research Guide for History 091

http://guides.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/history091