Historical Research Workshop

Fall 2012 Syllabus

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Undergraduate Historical Research Workshop – Fall 2012

3:00 – 5:00 Wednesday, Jean and Irving Stone Seminar – Room 373, Bancroft Library

Katie Fleeman, History 2013
Areas of Interest: 20th Century, United States
Office Hours: TBA

Camille Villa, History 2014
Areas of Interest: Ancient Greece & Rome, History & Theory, American West
Office Hours: TBA

Supervising Faculty:
Prof. Kerwin Klein, History Department

Welcome to Undergraduate History Research Workshop! Research is an awesome and exciting part of any academic career. It can also be a foreign and overwhelming experience. This workshop aims to give you the skills to navigate many of the resources available at UC Berkeley, from libraries to archives to the world wide web. By the end of the course, you will be able to identify and utilize a multitude of campus resources, critically evaluate your sources, and develop a keen appreciation for historical research. You will also hone your communication skills and ability to convey your findings in both written and oral form.

Prerequisites & Enrollment Procedures
This is a 2-unit course is open to all grade levels and majors.  No prior research experience or coursework in the History department is necessary.  All applicants are required to attend the first class on 8/29 and submit an application describing your research interests.  Applications are due by 11:00 PM Friday, 8/31.  Facilitators will send out CCNs by 8:00 PM Sunday, 9/2.

Course Goals

  • Access – able to find and access a variety of resources AND properly document them according to the Chicago Manual of Style
  • Analysis – able to evaluate a source’s relevance, biases, purpose, etc.
  • Communication – able to clearly elucidate research goals and questions

By the end of this course, you will have the following basic competencies:

  • Access the following resources:
    • Doe Library
    • Bancroft Library
    • Microfiche & Newspapers Library
    • Online journal databases
  • Chicago Manual of Style source citation
  • Critical evaluation of sources

This course will NOT focus on the structuring and organization of a full length research paper, but ideally you could use the skills and research accumulated during this course to craft such a paper.

Course Expectations
Because the focus of this class is the development of skills, students will not be required to submit a formal paper.  Instead, the class will focus on the actual research process. This will consist of discussion, a research journal, weekly readings, and a final presentation.

Discussion (30%): The first portion of each class will consist of discussing the reading and reviewing findings from the previous week. Discussion is an imperative part of the research project. Research is not necessarily a solitary occupation; collaboration and discussion will enhance and refine both your own research and the research of your peers. Students will be expected to complete the weekly readings (which will be available on bSpace) and come in prepared to discuss the material. Students will also be expected to be able to report on their own research progress and actively engage in helping their peers develop their own projects. This can include suggesting sources for your classmates or providing additional questions to refine their research. Courtesy and respect are expected.

Journal (30%): Students will document their progress on a weekly blog. For each week, this syllabus details a homework question or assignment. Use this as a prompt to craft a reflection for your blog (100 words minimum). Blogs should be posted by Tuesday at 8:00 pm.

Students are permitted to miss one journal assignment without any impact on their grade. If a student misses a second assignment, he or she may make it up with an extra credit journal entry during dead week. Any further missed assignments will result in a failing grade.

Readings (15%): Please post two questions on the blog every week about the week’s reading at the end of your journal entry. Questions may, but are not required to, include some reflection on the reading. We will draw from these for class discussion. Like reflections, questions should be posted by Tuesday at 8:00 pm

Presentation (25%): A 10 minute presentation showing the class what you’ve discovered through your research process. The presentation should discuss your experience with the sources: Which did you find helpful? Which did you not? Although this class is not aimed at creating polished final product, please include any conclusions or findings to which your research has led you. Presentations can include posters, powerpoints, multi-media, portfolios, or any other format – be creative! We will give more specifics as the course goes on. Failure to give a final presentation will result in a fail in the class.

Course Policies
Attendance is mandatory; discussion is a crucial part of the course. Please let us know before the next class if you know you will have to miss any classes for extracurriculars, other classes, etc. In the case of illness or emergency, please let us know via email before the start of class or as soon as possible. More than one unexcused absence will result in a fail.

All readings will be made available on bSpace.

Schedule & Reading Assignments:

Week 1, 8/20 – Instruction Begins 8/23

Week 2, 8/29: Introduction
Enrollment Class – Location TBA

  • What is research?  Why are these skills valuable?
  • Fly-by survey of the variety of things that constitute a “source” & resources available at Berkeley.
  • Quick case-study: Picking the Appropriate Scope for Your Research Topic
  • Course goals & expectations
  • Discuss application process
  • Left-over time: Students are invited to discuss their research topics with facilitators.

HW: Go to the Bancroft Registration desk and submit paperwork.  Familiarize yourself with Bancroft regulations and procedures.

Applications due by 11:00 PM Sunday, 9/2.  Facilitators will send out CCNs by 8:00 9/5.

Week 3, 9/5: Where do we start?
Reading: Selections from Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001).

  • Introductions: Who are you? What are you interested in?
  • What is a historical research topic?
  • What is a source? What is the difference between a primary and secondary source
  • Good questions for evaluating primary & secondary sources from the 101 Manual
  • Exercise: Introduction to the sourcing heuristic using US History Textbooks

HW: Develop your research questions. What are you interested in? Why?

Week 4, 9/12: The Catalogue – Your Basic Map
Reading: Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. “From Topics to Questions”, The Craft of Research, (Chicago: U Chicago Press, 2008), 40-55.

  • OskiCat Strategies: What are good keywords?
  • Reference Room: Who can I talk to? What should I know going in? How do I articulate questions to the librarian?
  • What are some tools and strategies for note-taking?
  • Main Stacks scavenger hunt!

HW: Compile a list of keywords and use them to find one resource in Main Stacks.

Week 5, 9/19: Online Sources
Reading: Anthony Grafton, The Footnote (Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1997), 1-33.

  • What online sources are available to me? How can I access them?
  • How valid are online sources?
  • Uses for secondary sources?
  • How do I cite my sources and

HW: Find an article using an online database.

Week 6, 9/26: Bancroft I
Reading: Collection Highlights from Charles B. Faulhaber, ed., Exploring the Bancroft (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2006).

  • What is the Bancroft?
  • How do I use archival sources?
  • What are some other special collections on campus?

HW: Find an archive in the Bancroft, request an item and begin to read through

Week 7, 10/3: Oral History
Reading: J.D. Fage, ed., Africa Discovers Her Past;

  • How can I access oral histories?
  • How can I conduct my own oral histories?
  • How valid are oral histories as sources or evidence?

HW: Find or conduct your own oral history. If you conduct your own, it does not need to relate to your research project. The Regional Oral History Office’s website is a good place to start. (http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/)

Week 8, 10/10: Microfiche & Other Periodicals
Reading:  W. Burlie Brown, Microfilm and the Historian (The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 40, No. 3 Dec 1953 pp 513-518)

  • How do I access the Microfiche library?
  • How can I use microfiche?
  • What are the advantages & disadvantages of periodicals as sources?

HW: Find a newspaper relating to your topic, either in the microfiche collection or on an online database.

Week 9, 10/17: Bancroft II/Collaboration
Reading: No reading. Devote this week to your own research.

  • Presentation/Discussion of your Bancroft findings thus far
  • What difficulties have arisen?
  • How can you help out your fellow researchers?

HW: Update on your Bancroft findings. Find one article/resource relating to someone ELSE’S project

Week 10, 10/24: Visual Resources – Material Artifacts / Material Culture
Reading: Excerpts from Stephen Lubar and David Kinger, ed., History from Things: Essays on Material Culture (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1993).

  • What are material/visual resources?  How are they similar to/different from textual sources?
  • How can I access and use them?
  • Calisphere, BAM/PFA, photography collection
  • Tentative guest speaker: Sarah Gold, grad student History

HW: Find one visual or material source relating to your topic

Week 11, 10/31: Film & Documentaries
Reading: Jeffrey Richards, “Film and Television: the moving image” in History Beyond the Text: A Student’s Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources, ed. by Sarah Barber and Corinna M. Peniston-Bird (New York: Routledge, 2009).

  • Happy Halloween!
  • How can I use films in my project?
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources

HW: Find one film resource relating to your topic

Week 12, 11/7: Special Library Day
Reading: Please take a look at the websites for the following libraries: Ethnic Studies (http://eslibrary.berkeley.edu/), Institute of Governmental Studies (http://igs.berkeley.edu/library/), South/Southeast Asian Studies (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/SSEAL/) and the Anthropology Library (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ANTH/)
(http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EART/maps) Earth Science and Maps Library

  • What are some of the special collections on campus?
  • How can I access/use them?
  • How do I approach off-campus archives?

HW: Research one of the special collections relating to your topic. How can you use it?

Week 13, 11/14: What Can You Do With Research?
Reading: No reading.  Spend this time doing an extended research journal.

  • What are some applications of research?
    • historical fiction
    • documentary
  • How can I use research in a non-academic setting?

HW: How do you see yourself using research later on?

Week 14, 11/21: Extra Office Hours
Thanksgiving Week – 11/22 & 11/23
HW: Work on your project. How’s it going?  Extended reflection research journal; perhaps compare and contrast two of your sources.  How do these sources reinforce or challenge one another?

Week 15, 11/27: Presentations
HW: Reflection

Week 16, 12/5 – RRR week
Extra Credit: If you miss a journal entry, you may make it up during RRR week.