Selecting your primary source text(s) is one of the most important decisions you will make as you undertake this research project. You will want to spend significant time exploring which documents are available that are related to your topic. Try to give yourself sufficient time to explore multiple options. You will want to choose primary sources that invite numerous questions related to the theme of the course and that are rich and complex enough to allow for extended analysis and interpretation.
For this project, you will be making use of the Archives of Sexuality & Gender, a digitized collection of archival materials. Archival documents are unique print materials that may or may not have been originally intended for a wider audience or that are more ephemeral in nature.
There are several ways to use the Archives of Sexuality & Gender to locate your primary sources. Don't forget to prepare a list of related terms and concepts BEFORE you begin searching! This will save you time and give you a sense of direction as you search.
Browsing and Searching in Collections
Browsing collections can be a good way to generate ideas if you are still unsure of your topic. This archive contains full collections of materials, such as Gay and Lesbian Politics and Social Activism: Selected Newsletters and Periodicals from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Historical Society (mostly documenting gay and lesbian history in San Francisco's Bay Area), Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin and the Daughters of Bilitis, and much more.
After you've selected a collection, use the small search box on the left of the results page to search documents within that collection.
Searching the Archive
Number 1 Search Tip: Use Advanced Search and limit features whenever possible. Subset limits, date limits, subject searches, etc. -- are all useful time savers. Search tips for other databases also apply in the Archives of Sexuality & Gender.
Many full-text databases, including the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, now offer embedded tools for basic text analytics.
Example 1: Word Frequencies Over Time
Term frequencies show how often a term or phrase occur with the documents, either by the number per year or by popularity (in what percentage of documents in a given year).
Search for the phrase " gay power" with no date limitations. Look for the term frequency search on the navigation bar at the top of the page OR on the left of the results page (to search for frequencies within results).
What patterns do you notice? What questions do you have? How might you go about answering these questions?
Example 2: Word Clusters Over Time
Search for the terms: marriage and equal*. (The asterisk tells the database to search for all forms of the word.) Are the results what you expect? Why or why not? What other terms might you want to search?
Example 3: Word Clusters
Term Clusters show other terms that appear near your search terms in the documents.
Run a search for "lavender menace." On the left navigation bar, look for "Analyze Results," and then select "Term Clusters."
What does the visualization wheel tell you? What can't it tell you? What other term searches might you want to do?
This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!