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Utopian Impulses (INDIV-3600)

Research resources and strategies for INDIV-3600 - MH: Utopian Impulses.


This guide is designed to help students enrolled in Christina La Sala's Utopian Impulses class (INDIV-3600) perform research. We recommend you strategize your research through the BEAM framework -- background, exhibits, arguments, and methods, because each information need requires a different strategy.

Start by searching for background information related to your community - encyclopedic entries, biographies, books, and articles on the web, before trying to find exhibits (primary source examples) and arguments (secondary source expertise). You may also need to find method sources relating to the community you are investigating so you can recreate aspects of their creative legacy.

Primary Sources were created during the time period being studied. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Primary sources can include original documents, diaries, speeches, letters, interviews, film footage, autobiographies, newspapers or photographs. Creative works such as poetry, fiction, drama, music, and art also serve as primary sources, direct windows into the creative spirit of a time, place, or culture. Material artifacts (such as clothing or household goods) derived from the time period you are researching are also primary sources.

Secondary sources are books, articles, interviews, or video commentary by experts, scholars, or journalists writing or speaking about a time, place, or culture after the fact. The best secondary sources are the ones that interpret and analyze primary sources from the perspective of an expert. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Most of the books and articles in the CCA Libraries print and digital collections would be considered secondary sources. You can search our collections from the CCA Libraries homepage.

Tip: when searching for primary sources, using terms like "primary sources," "special collections," "manuscripts" or "documents" will help uncover sources otherwise buried deep in search results.

Online Libraries and Archives

The following platforms allow you to search digitized collections of photographs, newspapers, maps, or books. Use these services to try and find primary sources that relate to the community you are researching. For more, see the Archival Research page on this guide.