Historical Research COMM 142: Communication Criticism John A. Cagle.
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Historical Research COMM 142: Communication Criticism John A. Cagle
Asking the Right Questions zQuestions about basic facts: What was going on? zQuestions about definition: What is it? zQuestions about evaluation: How do you evaluate the facts and the definition? zQuestions about policy: What should be done?
Purpose of research zTo organize facts to understand the historical context zTo define body of facts to understand the nature of a problem zTo evaluate the historical event in terms of certain criteria zTo propose a solution to a problem
Problem question zResearch begins with stating the focal question you are trying to answer zInitially, the problem question may be more general zThe problem question may be modified in light of information discovered and made more specific
Things to consider zIs problem adaptable to critical and historical methodologies? zIs the problem significant? zTo what extent is information available on this question?
What information is needed? zWhat information is needed? zGenerate questions which arise from the problem question zWhat kinds of information could provide answers to these questions? zHow can you get access to this information?
Historical methodology zHistorical “facts” as they might be known at the time zHistorical documents: any original written, auditory, or visual record yE.g.: government reports, newspaper article, transcript of a speech, diary, letter zHistorical research: blends facts from various sources into lucid and flowing narrative.
Sources zPrimary material comes from original sources zSecondary sources are compilations and interpretations of material from various sources
Tests of evidence zWas source in position to perceive the event? Freedom from bias? zWas source intellectually capable to perceive it? Interpret it? zWas evidence clear, concise, intelligible? zIs evidence supported by evidence from other sources?
Evaluating each source zRelevant facts and content to research interest zAuthority and credibility of the source: reliability zTimeliness of the evidence zQuality of the source: writing, accuracy, and thoroughness
Print sources zBooks zPeriodicals yAcademic and professional journals yMagazines yNewspapers zBibliographies and Indexes zEncyclopedias