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Fundamentals of research methodology on primary and secondary sources in the field of humanistic studies


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Enrica Salvatori - Simona Turbanti (UNIPI)
Horizontal teaching activity for PhD.

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Fundamentals of research methodology on primary and secondary sources in the field of humanistic studies

  1. 1. Research methodologies
 Enrica Salvatori, Simona Turbanti University of Pisa Horizontal teaching activity, a.a. 2018/2019 17 January 2019
  2. 2. Fundamentals of research methodology on primary and secondary sources in the field of humanistic studies
  3. 3. Primary and secondary sources original, facsimile, transmitted source, edited source
  4. 4. It all depends of course on the starting question • Primary: source produced near time to the event or to the historical context with which it is directly or indirectly related; • Secondary: source that deals with the event produced at a distance from the event itself and/or not by its actors/witnesses • Scientific literature/historiography Primary and secondary sources (history)
  5. 5. ?
  6. 6. The original •Written source production context — conservation context — archive collection — archive •Material source (also written) ….. production context — conservation context — in situ/ collection-museum •The minimum basic reference is a place of preservation (with different possible granularity) (I. Newton, Propositions) Keines, MS 12,
 King’s College Library, Cambridge University
  7. 7. •Stele of Valeria Procula oppure •CIL XI 6994 in both cases: •La Spezia, Archaeological Civic Museum "Ubaldo Formentini", Castle of St. George, VI room (Inv. F 1750) Autonomous title Reference to the edition Material source
  8. 8. • authors/customers • writers/manufacturer/workshop • deliberating office/chancellor’s office • recipients • first location/archiving • conservation • materiality • date of manufacture, shipping, preservation, placement, celebration Explain/consider the context
  9. 9. •replicates with valuable integrative tools the facsimile edition •digital reproduction of the archive collection (entire digitized collections) with metadata •good value for money: an increasingly adopted solution from archives and libraries •good image quality compared to the past (microfilm) •possibility to intervene on the image for useful processing •Reference: place of preservation + (perma)Link + [date of consultation] Facsimile edition image + metadata
  10. 10. State Archive of Lucca (aSLu) 16-08-1050-Altopascio (parchment) http:// www.archiviodistatoinlucca. 799711? open=%2FD%5B01%5D%2FD%5 B01%5DD%5B01%5D%2FD%5B0 1%5DD%5B01%5DD%5B001%5D %2F&tab=Albero •[consulted on 15-1-2019] Facsimile edition image + metadata
  11. 11. • Transmitted: source handed down from the manuscript tradition 
 —> The rules of the archive sources are valid with indication of the correct metadata to identify it •Edited: critical edition of the source (from the seventeenth century) to print —> The rules of t h e b i b l i o g r a p h i c citation are valid Transmitted source, 
 edited source La Divina Commedia di Alfonso d'Aragona re di Napoli : manoscritto Yates Thompson 36 Londra, British Library commentario, a cura di Milvia Bollati, Modena, F.C. Panini, 2006
  12. 12. Rules similar to the traditional edition with technical specifications (optional) and link + [date of reference] + DOI Digital critical edition Codice Pelavicino. Edizione digitale, a cura di E. Salvatori, E. Riccardini, L. Balletto, R. Rosselli del Turco, C. Alzetta, C. Di Pietro, C. Mannari, R. Masotti, A. Miaschi,  2014 <> [consulted on AAAA/MM/GG] DOI 10.13131/978-88-902289-0-2
  13. 13. Citations and citational styles Characteristics, object and purpose of the citation
  14. 14. The state of the art Before starting a research work, starting from the thesis, it is necessary to take the point of the situation (the so-called state of the art), that is to examine what has been published in various forms on the subject of its own research literature review No one starts from scratch!
  15. 15. Manage information Everyone has to handle personal information...
  16. 16. The tradition
  17. 17. Today
  18. 18. Personal information manager (PIM) The management of information useful for drafting scientific texts (thesis, article, monograph, etc.) is a special case of PIM (N. De Bellis, Gestire l’informazione bibliografica (e non): Update 2013 [slide]) Need to organize the documentation found on the topic of research so that it is readily available and usable/ citable cataloging of books and collected articles that form the “personal library”
  19. 19. The bibliographic research Production of more and more data in the current “information society” need to organize this growing amount of data for their availability There are several tools to order and make available the existing documentary heritage: • catalogues (OPAC) • bibliographies
  20. 20. The catalogue The catalogue is the tool whereby users come into contact with the documentary (or with part of) heritage of the library or system library, but also of an archive or museum The catalogue consists of an “ordered and organic set” of bibliographical records linked together by a network of bonds (sindetic structure) catalog as language • The records in the catalogues describing an object (book, website, archival document, painting, etc.) are metadata, data about data...
  21. 21. The bibliographies “Bibliographies are lists of bibliographical records, organized according to a slightly different homogeneous criteria (alphabetical, chronological, disciplinary and other), but created according to non-standardized citational practices and styles that vary according to the national tradition, or that follow the indications and requests of the publishers” • (F. Venuda, La citazione bibliografica nei percorsi di ricerca: dalla galassia Gutemberg alla rivoluzione digitale, p. 184)
  22. 22. Catalogues vs bibliographies? The bibliography is a different tool from the catalogue of one or more libraries; In fact, it gives an exhaustive account of the existing editorial production on a given theme, historical period, genre, etc., and may not be updated after its publication In reality, for some time now, boundaries between catalogue and bibliography are more and more blurred (the OPAC SBN, for example, is often used as a national bibliography) • In order not to get lost in this “sea” there are bibliographies of bibliographies
  23. 23. Why are bibliographies necessary? Need to prove that a research work is based on what already exists in the matter and from there it started citation of the material read or consulted to “build” his own search path • Need to correctly cite existing scientific literature (ways and citational styles)
  24. 24. Scientific communication The formal process of scientific communication is due to the need for scholars and researchers to contribute to knowledge and, at the same time, to lay the basis for their academic career and reputation From Starr Hoffman’s blog (<https:// 2013/03/05/the-digital-humanities- transforming-scholarly-communication/>)
  25. 25. What is scientific communication? Scientific communication can be defined as “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and i n f o r m a l c h a n n e l s , s u c h a s e l e c t r o n i c listservs”  (Association of College & Research Libraries, “Principles and strategies for the reform of scholarly communication 1,” 2003)
  26. 26. The birth of scientific communication Traditionally, its debut can be traced back to a period prior to the birth of modern science itself, that is when the mechanical type printing spread • The circulation of printed paper allowed a wider circulation of ideas “scientific revolution” of the seventeenth century
  27. 27. Levels of scientific communication The three levels of scientific communication are: 1. among scholars of the same disciplinary field 2. between scholars from different fields 3. to the audience of non-experts
  28. 28. The elements of scientific communication The essential elements of scientific communication are: • scientific disciplines • scholars • means of dissemination • audience
  29. 29. Stakeholder The stakeholders of scientific communication are: • scholars (researchers/scientists and students) • publishers • libraries • …
  30. 30. Means of dissemination Scholars can spread their work in many ways and through various channels: • publishing in magazines and books (printed and electronic) • storing within digital institutional archives • using mailing lists and online communities • creating new sites for dissemination
  31. 31. The publication cycle From The University of Winnipeg Library Pages (< communication/index.html>)
  32. 32. The origin of scientific communication American sociologist Robert K. Merton – the founder of the sociology of science – analyzed the existing relationship between scientific research, technological innovation and social organization, and defined science as a social institution • Merton delineated the rules of the behavior of scholars/scientists: “priority rule”, “recognition”, “peer review”, “citation”
  33. 33. What is a scientific work? A scientific work is a generally published contribution within a “ w e l l - r e s p e c t e d ” / scholarly journal, that is a scientific journal based on the peer evaluation system
  34. 34. The peer review Peer review is a process of critical evaluation of the work of a scholar carried out by specialists in the field to verify its suitability for scientific publication in specialised journals or, in the case of projects, the financing Peer review has existed since the 17th century, but since the mid-twentieth century some limits of the system have emerged: • high cost of the process • risk of subjective or distorted judgments
  35. 35. Peer review PERSPECTIVE When a contribution (article, essay) is assessed by peers to be published in a scientific office (journal, book) In this case the reviewer does not have any kind of information, sometimes not even the name of the author • It can be: • single-blind peer-review • double-blind peer-review RETROSPECTIVE Quando un contributo viene valutato ai fini di una procedura di valutazione della qualità della ricerca In this case the subject of the evaluation is already published and known to the peer community The reviewer has much information related to the impact of the article, the reputation of the author in the scientific community etc. It can only be single blind
  36. 36. Peer review limits Today we talk about open peer review, but there is no clarity or consensus on the real meaning • Some argue that the peer review process is in crisis. At the moment, however, it remains the only system that works...
  37. 37. • The scientist engages in his work to reach the priority of the discovery • The scientist is driven to make public the results of the discovery in the shortest time possible and is obliged to demonstrate the originality of his thought, however, showing the contribution of the work of other scholars to his discovery through the citation • The more a scientific work is cited by others the more the scientist increases his reputation The transmission of knowledge
  38. 38. The “power” of the citation The citation becomes the “condition of access to the scientific community” In modern science there is a competition for the priority rule; to get the publication of the results of his own research (and, therefore, the priority) it is necessary to submit to peer review • According to Merton the scholars are required to cite those who preceded them and to be cited, even for the institution to which they belong birth of the modern theory of citations and bibliometry
  39. 39. The basis of bibliometry: 
 the citation There are different types and purposes according to the disciplinary sectors The gradual development of the habit to cite, in the writings, the own works or of other scholars has inevitably led to the use of the citation data and, consequently, to evaluate a work in relation to the number of quotations obtained • With the increase in the amount of scientific production the citation becomes “the current currency in the trade of the official scientific communication. Small coin cut (the mention is cheap), but with a big symbolic purchasing power”
  40. 40. The citation 3 English terms: quotation, citation, invocation 1 Italian term: • quotation = faithful transcription of words, phrases or parts of works by other authors in the text you are writing (bibliographic) citation = bibliographical information identifying the resource used, that is, a description, concise and as far as possible transcribed in a normalized and coherent form that represents and allows to identify the resource from which the words, the phrases, the parts of text, but also the ideas and concepts used or remembered in the work have been drawn • (F. Venuda, La citazione bibliografica nei percorsi di ricerca cit.)
  41. 41. Bibliographic citations Direct and indirect citation The works consulted and quoted in a direct or indirect way in the drafting of a text, must be identified by means of bibliographical references, also defined indications or bibliographic citations • (F. Venuda, La citazione bibliografica nei percorsi di ricerca cit.)
  42. 42. Bibliographic citations Two possibilities: 1. in-text citation 2. end-text citation (F. Venuda, La citazione bibliografica nei percorsi di ricerca cit.)
  43. 43. The main citation systems Two main citation styles: 1. Numerical or standard system (British standard system): it is used mainly in humanities and in Italy; it is based on the presence of notes and bibliography 2. Author-date system (Harvard system, o APA - American Psychological Association - system): it is used mainly in science and economics and in Anglo-American area; it is based on the indication of author and publication data in round brackets in the text
  44. 44. Numerical or standard system Numerical or standard system (British standard system): use of footnote-numbered notes containing references/ bibliographic citations (in-text citation) and a final bibliography (end-text citation)
  45. 45. Author-date system Author-date system: use of the author’s surname and publication date in round brackets (in-text citation) and of a final list of the only references cited (end-text citation)
  46. 46. Chicago style (A) Chicago style A: numerical system/standard In the final bibliography it is ordered under the surname of the author, while in the notes the “ordering element” is missing (after the number of the note follow, in direct order, first and last name of the author or directly the title) If the citations in note are complete, the final bibliography might in theory be lacking • The presence of a complete final bibliography may involve the adoption, also in note, of the form adopted in the final bibliography or the use of abbreviations from the first citation in note
  47. 47. Chicago style (A) Notes Books Author, Title: Subtitle (Translated title), Editor, Reprint/Edition, Title series, editor, number, (Publisher place: publisher, date), Pagine, [Notes]. Parts of books Author, "Title: Subtitle" (Translated title), part, in Title book containing, Editor, Reprint/Edition, Title series, editor, number, (Publisher place: publisher, date), Pages, [Notes]. Journal articles Autore, "Article title" (Translated title), Journal title volume, number (year): pages, [Notes].
  48. 48. Chicago style (A) Bibliography Books Author. Title: Subtitle (Translated title). Editor. Reprint/Edition. Title series, editor, number. Publisher place: publisher, date. [Notes]. Parts of books Author. "Title: Subtitle" (Translated title). Part In Title document containing, Editor. Reprint/Edition. Title series, editor, number. Pages. Luogo: editore, data. [Notes]. Journal articles Author. "Article title." Journal title volume, number (year): pages. [Notes].
  49. 49. Tools of reference/citation management: Endnote
  50. 50. Tools of reference/citation management: Mendeley
  51. 51. Tools of reference/citation management: Zotero
  52. 52. Enrica Salvatori, Simona Turbanti, Thanks for your attention!