Writing & Library Research Methods: Research Methods in the Humanities

Course Description

How is knowledge produced, distributed and contested in particular subject areas? In the academic world, both writing styles and research methods vary widely from major to major and discipline to discipline.  In this class, you will build upon what you have learned in your introductory composition classes by engaging in the research practices and rhetorical strategies valued in one subject area. In this section, the focus will be on the humanities.  You will gain experience in the scholarly practices of that subject area by researching and writing several short essays in which you pose specific types of questions and respond to many types of sources, building up to a long research paper at the end of the semester.

In this humanities-oriented section of Writing with Research, art, music, literature, film, media, and the performing arts are considered appropriate subjects of inquiry. We will approach research methods in those areas through the study of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and some of its myriad adaptations into other media, including graphic novels (The Sandman), semi-opera (The Fairy Queen) and the visual arts and the visual arts. We will explore the different kinds of questions that one might ask about these texts, and learn to answer them using both primary and secondary sources. Your writing in this class will incorporate many types of texts, including primary sources, reference sources, criticism, reviews, interviews, and more. Through this work, you will acquire a macro-level view of the theoretical systems that make up a library and learn how to manipulate these systems to your advantage.  Most importantly, you will write in several of the genres listed above, engaging with sources in ways appropriate to the humanities.

This course fulfills the College Writing 2 requirement; thus, it will include a great deal of writing and reading. Furthermore, it is a library course and includes a significant research component. You will evaluate sources for their usefulness in different contexts as well as more traditional criteria such as reliability. You will examine how authors use sources to form arguments and marshal evidence, and put sources to work for you in similar ways.  You’ll learn to articulate interesting research questions and seek their answers—both through your own writing, and through sources in the library.

Course Documents