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ENG 444 - Professor Huff

This guide will help students gather sources need to complete the Research Project assignment for Professor Huff's ENG 444 course.

Which search terms to use?

When looking for primary sources about historical events, periods, people, or social conditions depicted in a novel or story, choose search terms that represent those things. Using Dracula as an example again, imagine a researcher who is interested in the subplot about Dr. Seward and Renfield, and decides to investigate the treatment of people with mental disorders in psychiatric facilities in the 1890s. The researcher might choose search terms such as:  

Insane, lunatic, mental condition

Asylum, sanitarium

Treatment, therapy, remedy, regimen, operation, procedure

At the heart of thinking of search terms is the idea of anticipating what words might appear in an article about your topic. Notably absent therefore are terms like "mental disorder" or "psychiatric facility;" those terms weren't much in use at the time. Primary source research challenges you to think of terms that would have been in use during the time period you're researching. This can even mean using search terms that today are offensive, but that in the past were common and perhaps even considered polite. 

Broad primary source collections

These are large, topically diverse collections of digitized primary sources. 

Primary sources - newspapers, magazines, etc.

These resources contain digital reproductions of historical newspaper and magazine articles. 

Primary sources - other source types

These resource contain digitized primary sources of a variety of sorts - diaries, journals, letters, official documents, and more.