Public Research

This research aims to prepare us for the Public Analysis short assignment, the Annotated Bibliography, and Paper 1. Your research should build from the work you did on the Topic Proposal assignment, and you should find at least four sources related to your topic for inclusion in the Annotated Bibliography.

Our understanding of “public” includes sources that contribute to conversations in the broader public sphere, both print-based and digital. Through our research, we are hoping to find sources that offer some sort of perspective, insight, or argument related to our topics. For our purposes, you can work with any public source that gives you any insight or any way of discussing this topic or issue, whether or not it is the main focus of the source.

Newspaper and Magazine Articles
As you conduct your research, you should look at a range of different databases. You are welcome to draw on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but it will also help to look at more specific databases as well. For newspaper articles, use LexisNexis or the sites of specific newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Guardian. Relevant magazines and sites for cultural criticism include The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, The Los Angeles Review of Books, New York MagazineMedia Diversified, The New Inquiry, Valid, Vox, and Medium. To find other relevant publications, do searches like “publications about [your topic]” or “magazines about [your topic],” or add search terms like “newspaper opinion” or “magazine opinion.”

It will also be important to try different combinations of search terms. Willamette University offers helpful guidelines on how to generate search terms, particularly by taking one search term and thinking about other forms of the word. Try using the University of Texas at Austin’s keyword generator too.

Digital Sources
Your research should also involve looking at various digital spaces where people share their ideas, interests, and perspectives. These spaces could include blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, reddit, YouTube, forums, or anything else along these lines.

Here are some other tools that can help with research:

  • Pinboard and Delicious. These bookmarking sites allow you to save and tag online articles and websites.
  • Hypothesis. This tool allows you to highlight and annotate online articles and websites.
  • Skim. This tool allows you to annotate .pdfs (Mac only).
  • Evernote. This software helps you organize research notes, class notes, or anything else along these lines.