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History 301 - Xiao

Welcome to History research!

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Mollahan Mill, Newberry, S.C. Type of young woman at spinning machine in cotton mills. Location: Newberry, South Carolina. December 1908. Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer. National Child Labor Committee (Lewis Hine photographs). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. LOT 7479, v. 1, no. 0385 [P&P].

Welcome to your History 301 course guide! Your professor is giving you a great deal of freedom to explore a historical topic of interest to you which can lead to many questions and challenges. This guide will help you and of course your professor and your librarian (me) are here to help.

No guide can include every possible resource you need for your specific topic, so do not hesitate to reach out for help from us. You see my contact information to the right with email and chat options. If you have a complex question or need to search multiple resources, we will set up an appointment via Zoom. 

Your research paper will focus on a topic with an Asian connection. This gives you a lot of leeway to focus on a topic of your personal interest and its intersections with both Asia and the United States. Use various links on the left side of this page to find information on books, ebooks, journal articles, primary sources and more for successful research. 

We may be doing everything remotely but that should not stop you from finding the primary and secondary sources essential to a good project.

Key Concepts that apply to all history research:

  • Use appropriate terminology (World War I was the "Great War" at the time since we didn't know there would be a second world war.)
  • Ethnic and racial group references have transformed over time (e.g., Native Americans has replaced the term Indians. Indians is now reserved in scholarly works to refer to South Asians from the nation of India.) 
  • Time periods can be vague so try to be fairly broad ("19th century" instead of 1849-1879) unless you are looking at a specific event such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 
  • Scholars will have preferred ways to reference an event, place or person but there is not any hard and fast rule. 
    • Geographic names can change over time (Myanmar used to be Burma.) 
    • Non-Roman alphabets may be translated into English with a number of variant spellings.
  • Primary sources demonstrate the stereotypes and prejudices of the time, especially in the popular press or during times of conflict. 
  • Propaganda or material created by those in power are biased and frequently distorts or ignores facts regarding those without power.
  • Give appropriate credit in your citation and comply with usage restrictions. 
    • Most sources allow use for educational purpose as long as cited or a particular condition is met. See Zapatistas! Anti-copyright statement and Creative Commons as examples.) 
    • Some sources will clearly state they cannot be used without a fee (e.g., Getty Images)
    • The information or image must be from the original source (NOT Wikipedia, Pinterest or Google Images...) 
  • Be a critical consumer, just because it is the first link in your result set does not mean it is the best. 

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Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source is an original source created at the time of the event by someone who participated in the event or directly observed it.

Example: A photograph dated 1911 of women soldiers of the Mexican Revolution is a primary source since the photograph was taken during the Revolution. 

 

 

A secondary source is created afterward, often to analyze and interpret the past. Secondary sources often use primary sources as a resource.

Example: A woodcut of Adelitas (women revolutionaries) created in 2010, while it may look old, is not primary and should not be used. The only time the woodcut could be used as a primary source would be if you were writing a paper on the modern representation of women who fought during that war. This would be a paper on how memory alters or romanticizes the past and as that is not the point of this project in this class, so do not use it.