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English: Literature, Rhetoric, and Composition: Fall 2017: Honors 1310, Historical Novels and the Romance of History

Encyclopedias and the Research Process

Where do you usually stop first when beginning a research project? The (encyclopedic) overview is a very old form that is often our first stop for beginning research.

Models within Wikipedia

Wikipedia's guidelines on reliable sources and a few sample "Featured Article" quality literary biographies help show you what the Wikipedia community values.

Develop a Research Agenda

Your research goals are:

  • One relevant primary source: for example, a letter or interview with Renault 
  • Two relevant secondary sources from different time periods: for example, a review of her work published at the same time as her work, and a review of her work published recently

As you do your research, you may change your mind on what information you think the article needs.

  • Are there important events left out?
  • Did views of her work change over time?
  • What kind of information is relevant for an encyclopedic summary and overview?

Research and Writing Debrief

As a class, we will share:

  • What worked and didn't work during the research process
  • Sources that would be appropriate for a Wikipedia article
    • How might these differ from sources appropriate for a research paper?
  • Ideas on how to best incorporate this new information into a Wikipedia article
  • Ideas on, if we were to continue this research, where we would look next
  • If there's time, we can even make some live edits