Research, Note-taking, and Digital Tools

October 6th, 2008 by jmcclurken

Use the following links to begin research

Simpson Library

Online databases for historical research

Note-Taking Options

  1. Note Cards
  2. Post-It Notes
  3. Word Processor (with or without templates)
    1. Outlines or free-form notes
  4. Citation (or other pay note-taking software like Nota Bene)
  5. Microsoft OneNote
  6. Excel/Access–For information in larger quantities that is consistent in its form (e.g., the census).
  7. Scribe – GMU’s CHNM free note-taking software
  8. Zotero — CHNM’s free Internet research tool [See Demo]

The following list came from suggestions from my HIST299 section last year. This students in this course, a methods class for all history majors, blogged about their methods of note-taking.

  1. Start with the bibliographic info — Jessica & others
  2. Keep track of location of all information and note useful quotes — Justin
  3. Use hanging indents to separate information in early stages — Jessica
  4. Begin to organize materials by argument early on — Jessica & Cheryl
  5. Use a preliminary outline to help organize — Ellen
  6. Use a table to keep track of themes or arguments — Amanda
  7. Color Coding — Kari

Other Digital Tools

Google Reader

Posted in Assignments, Class materials, digital tools, FSEM Topics, FSEM100RR | Comments Off on Research, Note-taking, and Digital Tools

Interview with a Veteran

October 1st, 2008 by jmcclurken

1) Finding a veteran

  • The guidelines for who the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project is interested in are located here. [Note that for the purpose of this class, I’d prefer a focus on a veteran from one of the wars we cover in class.]
  • The easiest choice may be a relative or a friend of your family. Ask around. If you can’t find anyone, come see me.

2) The Interview process

  • You should tape (or video-record) the interview. Trying to take notes during the interview will likely result in a bad interview and/or poor notes.
  • You may need to be able to have two meetings with your veteran (initial and follow-up).
    • If you don’t know your subject or his/her life, you should consider an initial interview to get straight the basic biography
  • Plan on as much as a couple of hours (if needed). Try to set aside uninterrupted blocks to conduct the interview.
  • The specific questions or issues you discuss depends on the particular veteran and their service. Some topics that may get you started thinking can be found on page 3 of the VHP Field Kit. Given the focus of this class, make sure to emphasize the topics emphasized in “War’s End, Coming Home” on page 3.
    • A more specific set of questions can be found here. [For these, emphasize parts 5 & 6.]
  • While you can ask specific questions, make sure that you also ask broader questions eliciting longer responses. If the interview goes in ways you didn’t expect, that’s fine. Be ready for it; don’t be afraid follow up on those asides.
    • Remember that some of these topics may be emotionally powerful for your interviewee.  Understand that some questions might not be answered.

3) Tips to remember — See this essential list of guidelines from the LOC.

For extra credit, you can also prepare your interview for submission to the Veterans History Project, something I encourage each of you to do. To do that, you must follow the guidelines described in the VHP Field Kit (which you will want to print out). At a minimum you’ll need to record the interview and complete all the waiver forms (with the veteran). All materials (including waiver forms and the recording) must be turned in by the start of class on the day the paper is due to receive the extra credit.

Posted in Assignments, FSEM100RR, Interviews, Veterans, writing | Comments Off on Interview with a Veteran

Videos of the Bonus March and Veterans of the Great War

October 1st, 2008 by jmcclurken

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This is from a documentary made in the 1990s.

The second clip is from a 1933 movie, Heroes for Sale. Do the two clips differ in their portrayal of veterans of the Great War? Why or why not?

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Posted in Class materials, FSEM100RR, Veterans, Video, WWI | Comments Off on Videos of the Bonus March and Veterans of the Great War