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Research Methods for the Theatre Department of Theatre and Dance University of Mary Washington Research Methods I. Developing a research topic II. Forming a search strategy III. Identifying, Locating and Evaluating information sources Developing a Research Topic

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Research Methods for the Theatre

Department of Theatre and Dance

University of Mary Washington


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Research Methods

I. Developing a research topic

II. Forming a search strategy

III. Identifying, Locating and Evaluating information sources


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Developing a Research Topic

  • A clearly defined research topic is the first step in successful research.


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The Assignments:

1:Write a research paper on some aspect of contemporary theatre.

2: Complete a character analysis of Emma Goldman.

3: Design scenery, lights and costumes for The Game of Love and Chance by Marivaux.


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I.Developing a Research Topic:

Defining a specific research question


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Assignment # 1:Write a research paper on some aspect of contemporary theatre.

  • Need idea of what information is available before you write.

    • Broad topic, too many options

      • Difficult to find relevant sources if topic is broad/ambiguous

      • What if there is nothing new to say?

    • Narrow topic, too few options

      • What if you choose a topic with no information?

  • Literature Review?


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What is a Literature Review?

  • Generally, the purpose of a literature review is to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, other literature reviews, and theoretical articles.

    • “Review of Literature.” The Writer’s Handbook. The Writing Center, UW at Madison. 2004, 15 Feburary 2006 <http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/

      ReviewofLiterature.html>. Path: Home; Writers Handbook; Common Writing Assignments; Review of Literature.


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Assignment # 1:Write a research paper on some aspect of contemporary theatre.

  • How did American theatre and theatre artists respond to the events of 9-11? Were any plays written that dealt with the events? If so, what were the themes of those plays?


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Assignment #2:Complete a character analysis of Emma Goldman.

  • Research and write a complete, detailed biographical study of Emma Goldman relative to developing her as a character for the play Emma by Howard Zinn.


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Assignment #3:Design scenery, lights and costumes for The Game of Love and Chance.

  • Complete an analysis of 18th century French style in order to design costumes, lights, and scenery for The Game of Love and Chance.


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II.Determine a Search Strategy

How will you search to find the information you are looking for?


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Determining a Search Strategy

  • Identify subject and key concepts for your search topic

  • Identify potential information sources

  • Identify where those information sources are located in the library, and how to use them


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Purpose

Subject Area

Focus

Topic

Topic

Concepts

Subject & Key Word

Determining a search strategy:Identify subject and key concepts for topic


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Purpose: Scholarly research paper

Subject: 21st century theatre history

Focus: American theatre after 9-11

Topic: How did American theatre respond to the events of 9-11.

Concepts:

Theater/re, response to 9/11

Subject & Key Words:

Theatre: plays, drama, theatre

Response: reactions

9-11: terrorism

How did American theatre and theatre artists respond to the events of 9-11? Were any plays written that dealt with the events? If so, what were the themes of those plays?


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Purpose: Scholarly research paper.

Subject: Emma Goldman

Focus: Biographical Study

Topic: Life, times, and beliefs of Emma Goldman.

Concepts:

Emma Goldman, Biographical information

Subject & Key Words:

Goldman: anarchist, suffraget

Biographical information: life, death

Research and write a complete, detailed biographical study of Emma Goldman relative to developing her as a character in the play Emma by Howard Zinn.


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Purpose: Scholarly research for design.

Subject: 18th C. France.

Focus: Period style

Topic: What were the architecture, décor, dress, and art of the 18th c France?

Concepts:

18th c French architecture, décor, dress, art, history.

Subject & Key Words:

18th c: eighteenth century, Rococo

Dress: Clothes, costume.

Art: Painting, sculpture

Architecture: Domestic, Religious, Versailles

Décor: Interior decoration

History: Government

Complete an analysis of 18th century French style in order to design costumes, lights, and scenery for She Stoops to Conquer.


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Determining a search strategy:Identify potential information sources

  • Research needs determine which information sources to search!


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Identifying Potential Source Options

  • Subject & Related subject areas

    • Subject area=library subject area

  • Source Content & Level

  • Source Scope

  • Identification of possible sources

  • Search strategy


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Identifying Potential Source Options

  • Source Content:

    • Scholarly—those created by persons taking a scholarly approach to the subject.

    • Popular—those created by persons taking a non-scholarly approach to the subject.

      • Criteria to tell the difference

  • Source Level:

    • Primary—generally, those created at the time of the event or person’s life that you are studying.

    • Secondary—generally, those created after the time of the event of the person’s life that you are studying.

      • Criteria to tell the difference


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Assignment #1:

  • Principal Subject Area:

    • Humanities

      • Theatre

  • Related Subject Area:

  • Source Content:

    • 1st Choice: Scholarly—need analytical opinions from theatre scholars.

    • 2nd Choice: Popular—may provide reviews of plays and opinions as to their value, or the plays from the audience’s point of view.


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Assignment #1

  • Source Level:

    • Primary: necessary because they will capture the immediate response of the theatre community.

    • Secondary: necessary because they will evaluate, compare and analyze the theatre of the event.

  • Source Scope:

    • Comprehensive and specialized sources are acceptable.


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Assignment #1

  • Source Identification:

    • 1st Choice:Periodicals will be best for primary sources as most will still be available in electronic indexes. It will be best source for theatre periodicals (scholarly), and it will also have human interest stories (popular) in papers like the New York Times.

      • Carlson, M. “9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq: The Response of the New York Theatre”. Theatre Survey, May 2004.

      • Cameron, B. “When 9/11 is History”. Theatre Survey, September, 2002.

      • Salmon, J. “A Response to 9/11, So Unheroically Human”. New York Times, December 15, 2002.


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Assignment #1

  • Source Identification:

    • 2nd Choice:

    • Books will be helpful, particularly if they are a compilation of articles on the subject or books written about the subject. (Too early for them to have been written?)

    • Play Scripts written about the events of 9/11 will give insight into the theatre’s response.

      • Mueller, L. Voices from September 11th.

      • Thomas, A. & Batra, T. With their Eyes: September 11th—the View from a High School at Ground Zero.

      • LaBute, N. The Mercy Seat.


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Assignment #1

  • Search Strategy:

    • Begin with a general search of journal databases looking for scholarly and popular articles with a subject of theatre and 9/11. Then move to see if there are any books or plays that have been written about the topic specifically, or that hold essays on the subject.


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Assignment #2

  • Principal Subject Area:

    • Humanities

      • History

  • Related Subject Area:

    • Social Sciences

      • Women’s studies

      • Political science

  • Source Content:

    • 1st Choice: Scholarly—need biographical sources explaining her place as an anarchist, feminist, and social activist.

    • 2nd Choice: Popular—look in contemporary periodicals for articles written about her.


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Assignment #2

  • Source Level:

    • Secondary—Contemporary authors who have written about her will be most prevelant.

    • Primary—Did she write an autobiography? Is there an annotated autobiography? Popular news sources written during her lifetime?

  • Source Scope:

    • Comprehensive and specialized are acceptable:

      • Comprehensive:

        • Marsh, M. Anarchist Women, 1870-1920.

      • Specialized:

        • Goldman, E. Living My Life.

        • Wexler, A. Emma Goldman: An Intimate Life.


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Assignment #2

  • Source Identification:

    • Books--as she is a historical figure most of the information about her will be in books.

    • Periodicals--there may be articles written about her in contemporary publications as well as copies of primary articles.

    • Reference Materials--because she was a historical figure she will be in most encyclopedias, general and subject.

      • The Encyclopedia of Women in American History


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Assignment #2

  • Search Strategy:

    • Begin with biographies of Goldman as well as her autobiographical writings. Then move to books and periodicals that write about her place as an anarchist, woman, and social activist.


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Assignment #3

  • Principal Subject Area:

    • Humanities

      • Art History

      • Architecture

  • Related Subject Area:

    • Social Sciences

      • Anthropology (Costume & Dress)

  • Source Content:

    • 1st Choice: Scholarly—need sources that explain & analyze 18th century French style.

    • 2nd Choice: Popular—photographs in periodicals (Architectural Digest)


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Assignment #3

  • Source Level:

    • Secondary: authors who have written about 18th century style, after the 18th century will be most prevalent.

    • Primary: those who wrote about the 18th century while living in it (diaries/letters); also paintings of architecture and dress.

  • Source Scope:

    • Comprehensive and specialized sources are acceptable.

      • Comprehensive:

        • Ribero, A. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe.

        • Summerston, J. The Architecture of the Eighteenth Century.

      • Specialized:

        • Delpierre, M. Dress in France in the Eighteenth Century.

        • Kalnein, W. Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century.


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Assignment #3

  • Source Identification:

    • Books most of the material will be in books.

    • Periodicals

      • Scholarly journals such as Dress and Eighteenth Century Studies.

      • Popular periodicals such as National Geographic

    • Reference Materials some reference sources may have articles on famous people, architecture, and behaviors of the period.

      • “Rococo” in Encyclopedia of Interior Design

      • “Rococo Style” in Encyclopedia Americana


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Assignment #3

  • Search Strategy:

    • Begin with general, comprehensive secondary sources that describe elements of 18th century style. Then look for specialized secondary sources covering specific aspects of the same period. Look for visual images that define the period.


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End Part I & II

I. Develop a research topic

II. Form a search strategy


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III.Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

-What specific type of source has the information?

-Where it is located in the library?

-Authority of information source?


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Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

Identifying different types of information sources in the Simpson Library

Which type is most likely to have the information that I want?


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Types of information materials available in the Simpson Library

  • Reference Sources

  • Books

  • Periodicals

  • Databases

  • All are accessible via the Library Web

    • The CONTENTS of each may not be electronically available


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Reference Sources

  • Encyclopedias

  • Dictionaries & Thesauri

  • Almanacs

  • Yearbooks

  • Handbooks

  • Atlases

  • Indexes


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Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedias contain brief overview articles on a wide range of subjects. Encyclopedias are frequently sets of multiple volumes and may cover a broad range of subjects or focus on a single subject area.

    • General:Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica Online

    • Subject:McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama


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Subject Encyclopedias

  • Assignment #1:

    -The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance

    -Critical Survey of Drama

    -Drama Criticism

  • Assignment #2:

    -Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers

    -Activists, Rebels, and Reformers

    -Women in World History

  • Assignment #3:

    -The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion

    -Encyclopedia of Interior Design

    -The Dictionary of Art


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Dictionaries & Thesauri

  • Dictionaries & Thesauri provide definitions of words and phrases. Some include the origins and histories of terms. Some include general terms in a particular language, whereas others may define jargon in a particular field of study.

    • Language dictionaries provide definitions for words in multiple languages.

    • Biographical dictionaries give information about people's lives and accomplishments.

    • Thesauri identify other words or terms with the same or similar meaning.


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Dictionaries & Thesauri

  • Assignment #1:

    • International Dictionary of Theatre: Plays

  • Assignment #2:

    • Larousse Dictionary of Women

  • Assignment #3:

    • Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture


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Almanacs & Statistical Sources

  • Almanacs are compilations of factsand statistics and in the case of Theatre research can be useful to look up statistics related to the arts. Most almanacs are updated annually or according to another regular schedule.

  • Statistical Sources just include compilations and summaries of numeric data.


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Almanacs & Statistical Sources

  • Almanac:

    • World Almanac and Book of Facts

  • Statistical Source:

    • LexisNexis Statistical.

    • Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005

      • Statistics available: Theatre Attendance and Receipts; Federal aid to theatres; personal expenditures on theatre.

      • Available electronically

        • http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/


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Yearbooks

  • Yearbooks provide annual updates of current events, facts, statistics, new discoveries, research or other timely information. Some reference book publishers issue yearbooks to update and supplement their publications until a new editions are available.


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Handbooks, Manuels & Guides

  • Handbooks, manuals, and guides to a field of study provide a detailed overview of or a general introduction to a subject area.

    • Handbooks are similar to encyclopedias only with more in-depth entries.

    • Manuals provide instruction on how to do something.

    • Guides to a field of study are designed to teach researchers or students about the sources and research methodology in the field.


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Atlases, Gazetteers & Guidebooks

  • Atlases, Gazetteers and Guidebooks are geographical sources.

    • Atlases are composed primarily of maps but may contain additional geographic information.

    • Gazetteers are dictionaries of place names and landmarks, both natural and man-made.

    • Guidebooks give important travel and other descriptive information about places


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Indexes, Abstracts & Bibliographies

  • Indexes, abstracts and bibliographies provide access to books, the contents of periodicals (magazines and journals), research reports, chapters in books, dissertations, and other materials.

  • The majority of people use these types of sources to locate periodical articles on a particular topic.


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Indexes, Abstracts & Bibliographies

  • Indexes are alphabetical subject-based listings of items.

    • Periodical Index (database)

      • Author and Title and Subject access points

        • A single item may be listed under several subject headings.

    • Index in a Book

      • Includes the content of that book only

  • Abstracts are indexes that include summaries of the contents of the listed materials. These summaries are called abstracts as well.

  • -Bibliographies are compilations of sources on a particular topic, by a particular author or in a particular library collection.

    • Subject Bibliography

      • Author, Title, and broad Subject access points.

      • Unlike an index, entries usually appear once.

    • Bibliography in a book

      • List of sources used to write that book

      • To find other sources on same topic


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Indexes, Abstracts & Bibliographies

  • Assignment #1:

    • Index: Expanded Academic ASAP

    • Bibliography: American Theatre History: An Annotated Bibliography.

  • Assignment #2:

    • Index: Expanded Academic ASAP

    • Bibliography: Anarchist Thinkers and Thought: An Annotated Bibliography.

  • Assignment #3:

    • Index: Expanded Academic ASAP

    • Bibliography: Architecture: A Bibliographic Guide to Basic Reference Works, Histories, and Handbooks.


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Books

  • Generally, scholarly books (as opposed to fiction) are either written on a single topic or are a collection of many articles, written by one or more authors on a single subject.

    • A collection of essays on a subject might be as helpful as a single topic book, as it will often give different perspectives on the same topic in one place

  • Books are shelved by subject. That means that books with a similar subject should be next to each other on the shelves.

    • However, this may not always be the case, so if you do not find more than one book on the same subject, do not assume that there are no more, as they just may be shelved in another place—under another subject.


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Books

  • Assignment #1:

    • None available

  • Assignment #2:

    • Solomon, M. Emma Goldman

    • Watson, M. Lives of Their Own: Rhetorical Dimensions of Autobiographies of Women Activists.

  • Assignment #3:

    • DeLorme, E. Garden Pavillions and the 18th Century French Court.

    • Adams, Censer & Graham. Visions and Revisions of Eighteenth-Century France.


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Periodicals

  • Journals and magazines are periodicals. This means that they are published at regular intervals. Both are numbered in volumes which correspond to a specific year and most journals have issue numbers.

    • A Journal is a scholarly publication in which researchers report findings of studies relative to a specific field. Most journal articles are evaluated by a panel (jury) of experts for accuracy and relevance before being published.

    • Magazines are written by a staff of writers for a more “popular” audience and the articles are not evaluated by a jury. There are Magazines and Journals covering most disciplines.

      • How do you tell the difference?


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Theatre Journals

Theatre Journal

Modern Drama

Theatre Topics

Theatre Survey

Women in Performance

Theatre Magazines

American Theatre Magazine

Entertainment Design

Shakespeare Magazine

TD&T

Periodicals


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Assignment #1

  • Journal:

    • Gomez-Pena, E-Mael, & McKee. “Re: Group/No homeland: A Post-9/11 Intercultural Poltergeist.” TDR, 47(4), 2003.

  • Magazine:

    • Shandell, J. “Authors! Authors!”. American Theatre, 22(3), 2005.


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Assignment #2

  • Journal:

    • Falk, C. “Emma Goldman: Passion, Politics, and the Theatrics of Free Expression”. Women’s History Review, 11(1), 2002.

  • Magazine:

    • Auleta, B, Goldstone, B. “Happy Birthday, Emma”. Off our Backs: A Women’s Newsjournal. 1, 1970


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Assignment #3

  • Journal:

    • Riberio, A. “The Art of Dress, Fashion in England and France 1750-1820”. Eighteenth Century Studies, 29(4), 1996.

  • Magazine:

    • Rosenau, H. “Functional & the Ideal in late Eighteenth-Century French Architecture”. The Architectural Review, 140, 1966.


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Databases

  • Free & Subscription

  • Free databases are those that anyone can access.

    • Most of the databases available on the web are free.

    • Be sure to check the authority of the information.

      • The Early Modern Drama Database


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Databases

  • Subscription databases are those that you can only access for a fee, in this case paid by the University.

  • Databases are differentiated by

    • Subject scope

    • Citation, Abstract, &/or Full-Text


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Subscription Databases

  • Broad Scope--Arts and Humanities Search

  • Narrow Scope--Decorative Arts

  • Most of the information in these databases is compiled from other sources by editors.

    • Basic search and an Advanced search option

      • The basic search is usually just a “keyword” search

      • The advanced search allows very specific searches using different search terms.


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Subscription Databases

  • Broad

    • Art Abstracts

    • NYPL Digital Gallery

    • Project Muse

  • Narrow

    • ARTStor

    • Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective

    • English Verse Drama

    • Greenwood Daily Life Online

    • Harp Week


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Subscription Databases

  • Citation, Abstract, &/or Full-Text Indexes

    • A Citation Index only gives you the information you need to locate an article: the title, author, publication, and date. Some Citation Index’s also include:

      • An Abstract which is a short synopsis of the article.

    • A Full-Text Index gives you the citation along with the complete text of the article as it was originally published.

    • Databases may be any combination of the three.


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Subscription Databases

  • Citation

    • DRESS IN 18TH-CENTURY EUROPE, 1715-1789 - RIBEIRO,AAuthor: KORSHIN, PJ Source: EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES 21, no. 1 (FAL 1987): 147-151

  • Abstract

    • DRESS IN 18TH-CENTURY EUROPE, 1715-1789 - RIBEIRO,A. Author: KORSHIN, PJ Source: EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES 21, no. 1 (FAL 1987): 147-151. (Book Review)

      Riberio’s thesis for her new book is “ clothes played the most vital role in defining man and his part in society, to an extent which we cannot contemplate today”. The book is a development of this theme by investigation dress, social factors for dress, and the heavy influence of French Court society on clothing.

  • Full Text

    • Provide full text copy of the article with citation.


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Arts and Humanities Search

Expanded Academic ASAP

Humanities Abstracts

Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984

Literature Resource Center-LCR

Project Muse

Citation

Full-Text, Abstract, Citation

Citation, Abstract

Citation

Citation, Abstract, Full-Text

Citation, Abstract, Full-Text

Subscription Databases


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Subscription Databases

  • How do I find which databases we have?

    • Simpson Library Home Page


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Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

Finding materials in the Simpson Library.

Library Tour


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Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

  • Finding different sources in the library

    • using Simpson Library Web Page

    • While you can find all materials electronically using the web page, you may not be able to access the content of all materials electronically.

  • Finding different sources outside the library

    • Use the WorldCat database

    • Item you want not in the library? Try an Interlibrary Loan Request. (Remember: no guarentee of arrival time)


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    Reference Sources & Books

    • Use the library web pageto locate Reference Sources and Books by title, subject, or author.

      • The catalog will not search the text in either source.

      • Netlibrary

    • When you find one book that you like, try finding others like it by clicking on one of the “subject” links in the book’s record.


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    Periodicals

    • Use the databases link from the Library web page to access a full-text or citation database to locate articles in Periodicals.

      • When you find the title of an article that you want, there may be a “locate journal article” link in the citation will let you see if the library has a copy of the article available for you.

        • The library does not have access to all the periodicals included in every database.

      • When you find one article that you like, you can also click on a “subject” link for related articles. Even though each database calls the subject links something else, they all provide that option to search for related articles that way.


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    Databases

    • Use the databases link from the library web page to find information in a Database, go to that database and use the search tools provided.

      • Almost all subscription databases default to a keyword search that searches the title, text, and subjects of the entry.

      • You may also be able to click on a “subject” link for related articles.

      • Not all databases use the same search techniques. If you are having trouble finding information in a specific database, then look for a help box that will explain how to search the specific database using an advanced search.

      • OR see a Reference Librarian.


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    Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

    Determining which information sources are acceptable for your research.

    • Generally an academic library chooses authoritative sources offering contrasting opinions

    • YOU SHOULD NEVER ASSUME AUTHORITY


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    Identifying, Locating & Evaluating information materials

    • Evaluation of source materials

      • Generic Criteria for Evaluation

        • Stated Criteria for inclusion of information

        • Authority of author(s)

        • Comparability with related sources

        • Stability of information

          • Edited from: Tilliman, Hope N. “Generic Criteria for Evaluation.” Evaluating Quailty on the Net. March 28, 2004.<http://www.hopetillman.com/findqual.html>.


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    Evaluating information: Print

    • Criteria

      • The author should tell you why they included and excluded what they did.

    • Authority

      • What qualifications merit the author as a source? Why is their opinion valid?

    • Comparability

      • How does their scholarship compare to the total written on the subject?

      • Are they writing with a bias?

    • Stability

      • Is what they are writing based on established research methods?


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    Evaluating information: Web Sites

    • Five criteria for evaluating Web pages

      • http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webcrit.html

      • Accuracy

      • Authority

      • Objectivity

      • Currency

      • Coverage


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    Acceptable

    British Drama

    Federal Theatre Project

    Costume

    Clothing of the 18th Century

    The Emma Goldman Papers

    Questionable

    Kabuki Theatre

    Burlesque

    TheatreHistory.com

    Historical Boys Clothing

    Goldman Archive

    Evaluating information: Web Sites


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    Further Questions?

    • Research Resources by Subject--Simpson Library

    • Reference Librarians

    • Internet Public Library

    • Purdue University's Online Writing Lab

    • UMW - Writing Center


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