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Historical Research. COMM 142: Communication Criticism John A. Cagle. Asking the Right Questions. Questions about basic facts : What was going on? Questions about definition : What is it? Questions about evaluation : How do you evaluate the facts and the definition?

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historical research

Historical Research

COMM 142:

Communication Criticism

John A. Cagle

asking the right questions
Asking the Right Questions
  • Questions about basic facts: What was going on?
  • Questions about definition: What is it?
  • Questions about evaluation: How do you evaluate the facts and the definition?
  • Questions about policy: What should be done?
purpose of research
Purpose of research
  • To organize facts to understand the historical context
  • To define body of facts to understand the nature of a problem
  • To evaluate the historical event in terms of certain criteria
  • To propose a solution to a problem
problem question
Problem question
  • Research begins with stating the focal question you are trying to answer
  • Initially, the problem question may be more general
  • The problem question may be modified in light of information discovered and made more specific
things to consider
Things to consider
  • Is problem adaptable to critical and historical methodologies?
  • Is the problem significant?
  • To what extent is information available on this question?
what information is needed
What information is needed?
  • What information is needed?
  • Generate questions which arise from the problem question
  • What kinds of information could provide answers to these questions?
  • How can you get access to this information?
historical methodology
Historical methodology
  • Historical “facts” as they might be known at the time
  • Historical documents: any original written, auditory, or visual record
    • E.g.: government reports, newspaper article, transcript of a speech, diary, letter
  • Historical research: blends facts from various sources into lucid and flowing narrative.
  • Primary material comes from original sources
  • Secondary sources are compilations and interpretations of material from various sources
tests of evidence
Tests of evidence
  • Was source in position to perceive the event? Freedom from bias?
  • Was source intellectually capable to perceive it? Interpret it?
  • Was evidence clear, concise, intelligible?
  • Is evidence supported by evidence from other sources?
evaluating each source
Evaluating each source
  • Relevant facts and content to research interest
  • Authority and credibility of the source: reliability
  • Timeliness of the evidence
  • Quality of the source: writing, accuracy, and thoroughness
print sources
Print sources
  • Books
  • Periodicals
    • Academic and professional journals
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
  • Bibliographies and Indexes
  • Encyclopedias
non print sources
Non-print sources
  • Internet
    • Search engines
  • Computer databases
  • Electronic databases
  • Interviewing
  • Speech by Adlai Stevenson, United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Speech to the U. N. Security Council on the Cuban Missile Crisis
finding scholarly materials online
Finding scholarly materials online
  • http://zimmer.csufresno.edu/~johnca/spch142/07s-net-research-tools.htm