research.JPGArchival Research Strategy Infographic from College of Charleston

How to determine if you need to review primary sources and where you need to look:

In the beginning of your research strategy phase of your research project or paper you'll need to determine if you need to see/use primary sources and what kind. Here are some guiding to questions to think about:

1. What information would answer my research question or support my hypothesis?

2. What documents or materials would have this evidence or information?

3. What archival collections would contain these documents or materials?

Example:

How did Villanova respond to the 1918 flu epidemic?

What information would answer my research question or support my hypothesis? Information on what the epidemic was like in the region, how were Villanova students affected, what did the school during that time, etc.

What documents or materials would have this evidence or information? Official school administrative records, newspapers, papers from people of that time at Villanova.

What archival collections would contain these documents or materials? Archival collections at Villanova- Rev. Francis E. Tourscher, O.S.A. papers in the Falvey Library records.

 

RESEARCHING in THE Archives


Advanced preparations help your archive research experience to be efficient and thorough. Here are some tips to help:

  • Check the archives' main website. Every archive is different, so be sure to check the hours, how to request collections, access rules, and photocopying/image policies. Some collections may be off-site a require days notice to be retrieved or access by appointment only.
  • Bring pencils and erasers. Archives do not allow pens.
  • Know the bag policies. Some archives have strict policies on having a bag in the reading room or stored elsewhere.
  • No food or drink.
  • Talk with the front desk and/or archivists. It's always helpful to talk to archives staff about your project, they can help streamline your research or offer more material you had not thought of to look at.