Introduction to Part III
Welcome to Part III of the Research Assignment for HIST 105. In Part II you used a scholarly monograph - one kind of secondary source - to learn about the historical roots of your chosen contemporary issue. You analyzed this source, learned how to properly cite monographs using Chicago-style citation, and used it to revise your research question.
In Part III, you will continue to use scholarly sources to investigate the historical roots of your contemporary issue, but this time you will locate a secondary scholarly article and primary source.
After you've completed Part III, your instructor or your teaching assistant will reassess your topic in light of your selected materials and comment on your hypothesis / thesis statement (answer to your research question).
Each database search in the assignment (e.g., Lexis-Nexis) is demonstrated for you in a short video tutorial on the Roots of Contemporary Issues Libguide. Review the tutorials before trying your search. If you have still have questions, or need help, contact a librarian.
Part III - Scholarly Articles and Primary Sources
Consult the following three short guides (same as from Part II) to learn secondary source definitions, examples of secondary source information types, and the difference between primary and secondary.
- Borough of Manhattan Community College = note the specific examples
- Florida Gulf Coast University = note the gray literature examples
Secondary Sources: History Scholarly Journal Articles
All disciplines have any number of journals in which scholars publish "scholarly articles," which are considered secondary sources in the humanities. Often, these scholarly articles are peer-reviewed, meaning other scholars read and evaluate them before they are published. This process of evaluation ensures that the journal publishes only top-quality research in the field. More or less all peer-reviewed journals are considered scholarly, but many scholarly publications do not incorporate a peer-review process for article selection. Whether peer-reviewed or not, scholarly (also referred to as academic) journals are often a central place to gather secondary sources on a topic.
In order to uncover the historical origins of your contemporary issue, it will likely be useful to start by using databases that house historical journals. One such database is JSTOR, which contains journals from the first publication year up to five years before the current year, and also published primary source materials, some of which date back to the 19th century. Another is Project Muse, which also includes a number of scholarly journals that publish in the fields of literature, American studies, education, and ethnic studies. [see Part III Tutorials]
Using JSTOR and/or Project Muse, locate ONE scholarly article published in a history journal in the last 25 years that can help you learn about the historical roots of your contemporary issue. In JSTOR, be sure to narrow to the item type to “Article,” so you do not get book reviews. While reviews can be helpful in finding books, you cannot substitute them for full-length scholarly articles for this assignment. Also, remember to narrow to history journals in the "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE" area. In Project Muse, after you've done your search, limit your results to "Articles" from the "Content Type" (see left side of the results screen) and to history journals by clicking the "History" check box in the "Research Area" limiter space.
Most likely you will find relevant articles in either JSTOR or Project Muse. But, if not, you can also search Historical Abstracts for your history journal article.
Using proper Chicago-style (notes/bibliography style, and again, bibliographic form NOT footnotes (the examples that start with numbers)), cite your scholarly journal article in the box below.
Next, in a paragraph (no less than five sentences), provide a summary of your journal article and explain how it ties to the encyclopedia article, e-newspaper article, and/or book you selected in Parts I and II. Write in third person (no "I think") and polish your prose as much as possible, keeping in mind that you may very well use parts of these library assignments in your final essay (you'll almost certainly use the sources).
Documentary and Non-Documentary Primary Sources
Historical documentary sources can be quite useful as primary sources. These include newspapers and magazine articles produced during the historical period in question. While we hope that documentary sources are free of bias, prejudice, etc., they seldom are. Indeed, that can make them all the more interesting. In order to locate a historical documentary primary source, you will locate a newspaper or popular magazine article written before 1950.
WSU Libraries has a number of databases to help you find full-text accessible documentary sources. To begin, go to Historical/Older Newspapers and select a database (left side box). Each database is different, so you'll have to familiarize yourself with how to search. The Times of London and the Historical New York Times will likely be the most helpful. Keep in mind that when searching for older material, words have changed. For example, you're not going to find much on "nuclear bombs" in the pre-1960s press. However, you'll find information on "atomic bombs," because this was the more common descriptor of the time. Likewise, you may need to broaden the scope of your topic. For example, if you're researching intellectual property on the Internet, you're going to have to think about intellectual property law in the pre-Internet era. The point here is to be flexible with your search terms, and if one database does not yield fruitful results, try another one. Research is a trial and error process. [see Part III Tutorials]
Non-Documentary Primary Sources
Non-documentary primary sources can be either print (diary, letter, speech transcript, interview transcript, personal papers, etc.) or audio/video (historical footage, historical film, music recording, recorded interview, etc). Still visual images (maps, photographs, paintings, album artwork) can be primary sources as well, but you may only use them in addition to written or audio/visual primary sources for this assignment.
WSU Libraries has access to a range of non-documentary primary source material in many disciplines, including history (consult Collections of Primary Sources). Most of these collections provide primary sources for deeper historical coverage. The guide includes a link to the WSU Libraries' Manuscripts, Archive and Special Collections (MASC) department which features prominently the history of the Pacific Northwest. Explore the links in the Collections of Primary Sources and MASC websites to try to find a non-documentary primary source for your topic.
Here are four other resources that may be useful in finding a pre-1950, non-documentary primary source (remember that all of these databases have both pre and post 1950 materials, be sure you are selecting only pre-1950 items for this assignment):
Search It (search from the Libraries' Homepage) = find historical primary sources with a search like this: your topic AND (diar* OR letter* OR interview* OR speech*). [see Part III Tutorials]
U.S. Congressional Serial Set = Put your topic keyword(s) in the text box, you can change the "in Citation Text" pull-down select to "in Title" to narrow your search. Any topic relevant document you find in this database should be a primary source.
Academic Search Complete = Put your topic keyword(s) in the top text box, then put (diar* OR letter* OR interview* OR speech*) in the second box. You can change the "Select a Field (optional)" pull-down menu item to "TX All Text" to broaden your search as needed. Do not use newspaper, magazine or journal articles.
The Making of the Modern World = Contains over 62,000 titles from 1450-1914, you may want to limit to English, not all items might be considered primary sources so please check with your instructor/TA.
You may also find it possible to locate historical primary sources in the bibliographies of the article and book you've previously collected.
Citing and Describing Your Primary Source
In the box below, provide the correct Chicago-style bibliographic citation for your pre-1950 documentary or non-documentary primary source.Your citation will depend on what type of source you found. For example, if it is a book (sometimes called published primary), then you would use the appropriate bibliographic citation for books. If you're accessing your primary source online (and not in print), the citation should include a URL and "date accessed" (see the Chicago-style reference page).
Next, in a paragraph (no less than five sentences), provide a summary of your primary source and explain how it ties to the scholarly article, encyclopedia article, e-newspaper article, and/or book you've previously selected. Write in third person (no "I think") and polish your prose as much as possible, keeping in mind that you may very well use parts of these library assignments in your final essay (you'll almost certainly use the sources).
Research Question to Hypothesis / Thesis Statement
Please copy and paste or type your refined research question from Part II into the text box below (or, if you changed your topic, be sure to clearly explain). Next, in light of your integrated analysis of collected sources to this point, and comments from either your instructor or teaching assistant provided in Parts I and II,type an initial hypothesis/thesis statement. A thesis statement is an answer to your research question. Remember when you craft your thesis statement that it should: (1) relate back directly to and clearly, fully answer your final, refined research question (from Part II), and (2) you should be able to demonstrate your thesis through a study of the history of your issue. Also, for information on how to write a thesis and key examples, refer to the "Tips & Examples for Writing a Thesis" Word document in the Angel Library Research Assignments folder.