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The RSR – From The Idea To Sources
How do I start my RSR?!!!
Some General Observations*
* Based on helping my LC and IB students
You feel swamped – you don’t know where to start. The ...
The Research Process
There is a methodology you can follow
1. Find topic area
2. Do background (initial) reading
3. Develo...
Topic Choice & Research Question
Your Topic Choice and RQ is Important
Choose something that interests you
Is worthy of research ie don’t choose a frivolou...
Characteristics Of A Good Research Question
1st criteria for a good RQ
DEBATABLE – a good RQ is debatable rather than factual.
It is not a simple “yes or no” question...
2nd criteria for a good RQ
NARROW – a good RQ is narrow rather than broad (‘delightfully vague’).
Too broad
Why did the Ro...
3rd criteria for a good RQ
SIGNIFICANT – The RQ should be one that historians would take seriously
Unimportant
Why are pin...
4th criteria for a good RQ
RESEARCHABLE – a good RQ is researchable rather than vague.
Vague RQs will lead to aimless, nar...
IB Example - Formulating a Good RQ
The Library, St. Andrew's College
Move from the GENERAL (Broad) to the SPECIFIC (Focuse...
Sources
Caveat
Assuming
- you don’t have a school library
- you know how to search the internet
- you are a member of your local p...
Sources - Types
You only have to evaluate 3 sources of information in your RSR
Here’s a range of sources you can use in yo...
Warning!!!
• This is NOT a
comprehensive
listing of
sources. It gives
a flavour of
what is available
Sources used at the start
Useful at the beginning of your RSR
Dictionaries
Encyclopedia
Atlases (Historical)
Dictionaries
Useful to define an historical term – used to briefly describe the origin and
general historical context of t...
Encyclopedias
Researching a subject about which you have very little background information???
READ AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICL...
Atlases (Historical)
Illustrate important changes over time – battles, migrations etc.
A picture is worth a thousand words...
Sources Used Later In The RSR
Almanacs/Statistics
An almanac is a book of facts/statistics usually in a tabulated format. Statistics in
an almanac refer...
Books
Very useful to the novice researcher for their broad and deep coverage of a
topic.
Peer reviewed
Use TOC and index –...
Databases
Useful for full text articles and book reviews
EBSCO – History Reference Centre
JSTOR – collection of journals f...
Internet – A Few Caveats
Beware of Wikipedia – open architecture - use cautiously
Every class will have its ‘Wiki Wallies’...
Internet – The Deep Web
Are you aware that searching Google is not searching the entire web??
Do you know how to search th...
Internet – Irish History
You should be aware of these if doing an Irish History RSR
Bibliography of Irish History – www.rh...
Internet – Linked Sites
These focus on history and have a large number of links to specialised history sites
Gateway to wo...
Internet – Linked Sites 2
Directory of Historical Resources – www.history.la.ca.us/hddirect.htm
The History Guide – www.hi...
Internet – Document Archives
On these sites, specific historical texts (books, articles, primary docs) are
available. Onli...
Interviews
Primary source which may lead to interesting essay – they stand out as being original
Before the interview you ...
Local History Societies
Archives/Associations/Museums
Great resource staffed with knowledgeable and enthusiastic historian...
Magazines/Journals/Periodicals*
‘The Shove ‘ for an idea I mentioned earlier – use front cover and title page to find your...
Newspapers
Newspaper databases contain full text but only for certain newspapers
and for certain years. May be fee based.
...
Radio & TV
Talking History on Newstalk 106 Sunday 7-8 pm
One featured item can spark many RSR ideas
Plantation Economics
S...
Remember ….
The sources previously listed are just a snapshot of
what is available to you
No one source is ‘better’ than t...
How To Read For Argument
Observation – students read passively
Read purposefully - what answers are you seeking from your
...
Use Your Evidence (Sources)
“Remember your purpose is to convince the reader (Examiner)
that the conclusions you draw rega...
Work Your RQ and Sources Into Your RSR
The role of one of the most important documents in the Affair,
namely Zola’s open l...
SAC Library Blog
http://librarysac.wordpress.com
How To Research page
Evaluation of Sources Reading Should Have A Purpose
...
kryan@st-andrews.ie
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History rsr from the idea to sources history teachers of ireland lecture at tcd october 2016

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Describes how to approach a Hiistory RSR from the initial stages - criteria for a good research question, sources of information and reading for argument. Talk given at the HTAI Seminar on the History RSR at TCD Dublin 17th Oct 2016.

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History rsr from the idea to sources history teachers of ireland lecture at tcd october 2016

  1. 1. The RSR – From The Idea To Sources How do I start my RSR?!!!
  2. 2. Some General Observations* * Based on helping my LC and IB students You feel swamped – you don’t know where to start. The RSR is put on ‘The Long Finger’. Its competing for time with other subjects You take a long time to settle on a general area eg European history or Medieval history and you may need to be ‘shoved’ to get this far. You find it difficult to narrow your focus to a more specific topic area and to develop a research question You are reluctant to discuss your ideas with teachers and the school librarian. You struggle on alone when you don’t have to You don’t know how/where to find the information you need You find extracting ideas/themes/arguments from your reading difficult
  3. 3. The Research Process There is a methodology you can follow 1. Find topic area 2. Do background (initial) reading 3. Develop Research Question (RQ) and thesis statement with History Teacher 4. Decide which sources are needed 5. Research 6. Read 7. Evaluate 8. Write first draft 9. Recognise what is wrong/missing/should be emphasised/deleted from 1st draft. Have you answered your RQ? 10. Revise draft(s) This could be covered in a TY Module Why don’t you suggest it to the TY Co-Ordinator at your school????
  4. 4. Topic Choice & Research Question
  5. 5. Your Topic Choice and RQ is Important Choose something that interests you Is worthy of research ie don’t choose a frivolous topic – 4 criteria will be discussed. Surprisingly Kim Kardashian doesn’t count as ‘worthy’!!! Your RQ will determine the resources you will need for your essay Do your background reading in general reference sources (eg encyclopedia) to confirm your interest in the topic. Britannica is on SCOILNET.IE Become familiar with the historical context surrounding your topic (social, political, cultural, economic etc.) Take on the role of the investigator - what is the significance of the topic you are researching? If you cannot answer this then why are you working on it?? Once settled on your general topic area narrow it into your RQ
  6. 6. Characteristics Of A Good Research Question
  7. 7. 1st criteria for a good RQ DEBATABLE – a good RQ is debatable rather than factual. It is not a simple “yes or no” question but one that can be answered in more than one way Too Factual Who was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence? Debatable What factors might explain the historical inaccuracies in John Trumball’s painting ‘The Declaration of Independence’?
  8. 8. 2nd criteria for a good RQ NARROW – a good RQ is narrow rather than broad (‘delightfully vague’). Too broad Why did the Roman Empire collapse? Narrow What aspects of the political system of the Roman Republic survived the rise of dictatorship and empire?
  9. 9. 3rd criteria for a good RQ SIGNIFICANT – The RQ should be one that historians would take seriously Unimportant Why are ping pong tables green? Significant What was the importance of ‘ping-pong diplomacy’ to relations between China and the USA?
  10. 10. 4th criteria for a good RQ RESEARCHABLE – a good RQ is researchable rather than vague. Vague RQs will lead to aimless, narrative style essays Vague Why did Mexico have so many revolutions? Researchable How was the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship undermined in the decade prior to the Mexican Revolution of 1910? A poorly chosen RQ is likely to lead to a long, rambling answer Narrative rather than analytical - perhaps resulting in lower marks???
  11. 11. IB Example - Formulating a Good RQ The Library, St. Andrew's College Move from the GENERAL (Broad) to the SPECIFIC (Focused) Topic – English Topic A Comments Religion in Literature Waaay too broad!!! Religion in 19th Century Literature Still too broad Religion in the works of the Brontes Better. Moving in the right direction Religion in the works of Charlotte Bronte She wrote a lot! Charlotte Bronte’s views on Religion in Villette and Jane Eyre Almost there In what way does CB reveal her attitudes to religion in Villette and Jane Eyre? Source: IBO USE LIMITORS!!! - Dates - Personalities - Themes
  12. 12. Sources
  13. 13. Caveat Assuming - you don’t have a school library - you know how to search the internet - you are a member of your local public library and know how to use a library catalogue So, …
  14. 14. Sources - Types You only have to evaluate 3 sources of information in your RSR Here’s a range of sources you can use in your RSR: 1. Almanacs/Statistical Sources 2. Atlases (Historical) 3. Books & Ebooks 4. Databases 5. Dictionaries 6. Encyclopedia 7. Internet – Irish Sites and Linked Sites 8. Magazines 9. Newspapers 10. People – Interviews, Associations, Museums and Archives 11. Radio and TV
  15. 15. Warning!!! • This is NOT a comprehensive listing of sources. It gives a flavour of what is available
  16. 16. Sources used at the start Useful at the beginning of your RSR Dictionaries Encyclopedia Atlases (Historical)
  17. 17. Dictionaries Useful to define an historical term – used to briefly describe the origin and general historical context of the term you intend to use eg neo-liberalism They do not contain detailed analysis/interpretation of historical subjects. Macmillan Concise Dictionary of World History Dictionary of Irish History Since 1800 – Hickey and Doherty (eds) Dictionary of Ancient History (OUP) Dictionary of American History Dictionary of the History of Ideas According to The Dictionary of the History of Ideas “neo-liberalism is …… Work those sources!!! Quote from them!!
  18. 18. Encyclopedias Researching a subject about which you have very little background information??? READ AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLE ON YOUR TOPIC as you are not yet in a position to corroborate what you will be reading with other sources Encyclopedia Britannica – free on www.scoilnet.ie Women’s Studies Encyclopedia: History, Philosophy and Religion (1999) New Encyclopedia of Islam (2001) International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences – useful for politics Encyclopedia of Medical History Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500BC to the Present (Harper & Row)
  19. 19. Atlases (Historical) Illustrate important changes over time – battles, migrations etc. A picture is worth a thousand words Historical Atlases Times Atlas of World History Muir’s Atlas of Ancient and Classical History Atlas of the Greek World Atlas of the Roman World Don’t forget to state your source!!! Source: Atlas of the Roman World
  20. 20. Sources Used Later In The RSR
  21. 21. Almanacs/Statistics An almanac is a book of facts/statistics usually in a tabulated format. Statistics in an almanac refer to the previous years figures or even earlier! Use statistics to strengthen your argument –QUOTE!!! CSO – Central Statistics Office ESRI- Economic and Social Research Institute Irish Census data – 1911 Census World Almanac and Book of Facts UN - Statistical Yearbook, United Nations Statistical Office European Political Facts, 1918-1990 Historical Tables, 58BC-AD1900 International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-2005, 6th ed.
  22. 22. Books Very useful to the novice researcher for their broad and deep coverage of a topic. Peer reviewed Use TOC and index – you may not have to read the entire book Bibliography - use it to find other resources on your topic area Too many to list or comment upon individually – use the ‘classic’ author in the subject eg Laurence Rees on Nazis or Frank Dikotter on Chinese history. Quality not quantity is important. Use your Local public library – search their catalogue online, if the item not in stock ask for an Inter Library Loan – small cost??? Book Reviews – useful for analysis/criticism Help for students on how to evaluate print sources of information on my Blog
  23. 23. Databases Useful for full text articles and book reviews EBSCO – History Reference Centre JSTOR – collection of journals from a wide range of disciplines. Fee based and require a password Are they available at a local library/university??? Save time – read the abstract – summarises what the work is about
  24. 24. Internet – A Few Caveats Beware of Wikipedia – open architecture - use cautiously Every class will have its ‘Wiki Wallies’ Bibliography at end of article may be useful for resources Use Google Scholar!!! – guidance from Cardiff University on my Blog Do you know about suffixes eg .edu (educational) .com (commercial organisation) Invisible or Deep Web – Do you know how to search it??? Date accessed – essential to quote this in your bibliography Go to my Blog for help on how to evaluate a website http://librarysac.wordpress.com
  25. 25. Internet – The Deep Web Are you aware that searching Google is not searching the entire web?? Do you know how to search the deep or invisible web? Deep web sites include: Intute Infomine DeepPeep IncyWyncy WWW Virtual Library Complete Planet InfoPlease
  26. 26. Internet – Irish History You should be aware of these if doing an Irish History RSR Bibliography of Irish History – www.rhs.ac.uk/bibl/ireland.asp CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts – www.ucc.ie/celt/links.html Documents on Irish Foreign Policy – www.difp.ie Great Hunger Collection Online – www.quinnipiac.edu/x912.xml Irish Resources in the Humanities – www.irith.org/index.jsp Defence Forces Military Archive – Military Pensions file
  27. 27. Internet – Linked Sites These focus on history and have a large number of links to specialised history sites Gateway to world history – www.hartford-hwp.com/gateway Internet History Sourcebooks Project – www.fordham.edu/halsall/index Library of Congress – http://lcwebloc.gov World History Compass – www.worldhistorycompass.com WWW-Virtual Library: History – www.ukans.edu/history/VL British Academy Portal – www.britac.ac.uk/portal Institute of Historical Research – www.history.ac.uk Best of History Web Sites – www.besthistorysites.net/index.shtml
  28. 28. Internet – Linked Sites 2 Directory of Historical Resources – www.history.la.ca.us/hddirect.htm The History Guide – www.historyguide.org/resources.html Internet Public Library – www.ipl.org/div/subject/browse.hum30.00.00 World History Matters – www.worldhistorymatters.org Intute Arts and Humanities – www.intute.ac.uk CLOSED JULY 2011 Librarians’ Internet Index – www.lii.org/pub/topic/reference
  29. 29. Internet – Document Archives On these sites, specific historical texts (books, articles, primary docs) are available. Online access to them is free, but you may have to pay to download information Eurodocs (primary historical documents) – http://library.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs World War One Document Archive – www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi
  30. 30. Interviews Primary source which may lead to interesting essay – they stand out as being original Before the interview you should:- Explain the scope of your research Prepare a list of questions for your subject – make them open ended Get your history teacher to REVIEW it! Write and make an appointment and allow sufficient time for the subject to give a considered reply Probe further if you get an answer that leads in the direction of important material Later on let your subject know how your research progressed and thank them NB – you MUST get your subject’s consent to record your interview
  31. 31. Local History Societies Archives/Associations/Museums Great resource staffed with knowledgeable and enthusiastic historians who are more than willing to help you What is the name of your local History Society? eg Maynooth Local History; Cork Historical & Archaeological Society; County Tipperary Historical Society The National Archive is at Bishop St., Dublin; The Military Archive, is at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin; Linen Hall Library is in Belfast; National Photographic Archive; archives held at universities – are you aware of any archive near you? Local Museum eg Famine Museum in Roscommon ; Museum of Country Life in Mayo; Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin
  32. 32. Magazines/Journals/Periodicals* ‘The Shove ‘ for an idea I mentioned earlier – use front cover and title page to find your topic area History Ireland – fantastic resource!!! great quality articles BBC History Magazine History Today Modern History Review Irish Historical Studies Also - Open Access Journals – DOAJ and PLOS ONE • See ‘Databases’ – EBSCO and JSTOR
  33. 33. Newspapers Newspaper databases contain full text but only for certain newspapers and for certain years. May be fee based. Great source to use in your RSR – if applicable Irish Newspaper Archives – fee based Irish Times Archive – www.irishtimes.com/archive Official Index to the Times (London) and Palmer’s Index to the Times – subscription service Early American Newspapers – 100s of newspapers from 1690-1922 – subscription service What is the title of your local newspaper?
  34. 34. Radio & TV Talking History on Newstalk 106 Sunday 7-8 pm One featured item can spark many RSR ideas Plantation Economics Slavery Toussaint L’Ouverture Haitian Rebellion
  35. 35. Remember …. The sources previously listed are just a snapshot of what is available to you No one source is ‘better’ than the other Sources selected should be appropriate to the RQ you wish to answer
  36. 36. How To Read For Argument Observation – students read passively Read purposefully - what answers are you seeking from your reading/research? Make efficient use of your time – skim/scan. Where’s the main idea? What’s really relevant to your research? Use the index. Be ruthless!! Evaluate and be critical of the arguments presented in the texts you read – what are they? List them in bullet point format - are they consistent or contradictory? - are they relevant (even if you don’t agree with them)? - is there bias (political, religious, ideological, etc.)? - are the underlying assumptions valid? - are conclusions supported by evidence eg statistics Again, look at my blog http://librarysac.wordpress.com
  37. 37. Use Your Evidence (Sources) “Remember your purpose is to convince the reader (Examiner) that the conclusions you draw regarding the research question are well founded and are supported by the evidence you have gathered and presented. So clearly, research question, data, evidence and/or information must be linked in a convincing way to the conclusion”. You must do the “linking” and not leave it up to the examiner to “see” the connections or relevance of what you have written” Source: O’Farrell, Finbar. Extended Essay p59
  38. 38. Work Your RQ and Sources Into Your RSR The role of one of the most important documents in the Affair, namely Zola’s open letter to the President of the Republic, “J’Accuse” was examined. This document exemplifies the power and persuasiveness of the press and its ability to turn the tide of public opinion. Hence, the research question emerges: What role did “J’Accuse” play in the Dreyfus Affair and more specifically in Dreyfus’ acquittal?
  39. 39. SAC Library Blog http://librarysac.wordpress.com How To Research page Evaluation of Sources Reading Should Have A Purpose Research help
  40. 40. kryan@st-andrews.ie

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