November Question of the Month

Jesse George-Nichol's picture
Welcome to our Question of the Month series, which we hope will launch robust discussions about research, pedagogy, and practice in the study of women and gender in the U.S. South.  We also hope that subscribers from all backgrounds and at all stages of their careers will share ideas, insights, questions, and resources--just click the 'Post a Reply' button to join the conversation! 
 
The challenges of researching during a pandemic are particularly significant for historians studying groups, like women, who are often underrepresented in published and digitized sources.  How have you adapted your research practices, and what resources have you found that might be useful to other scholars?
 
If you have any questions or comments about the series or have any suggestions for our next Question of the Month, please email H-SAWH editor Jesse George-Nichol (jesse.george.nichol@gmail.com).  This series will also post to H-SAWH's Twitter feed at @HNetSAWH.

Confession: I have not done any new research since last March. Fortunately, I had done enough previously that I can still be working (a little) on papers and articles. The paper that I had been working on for a conference last March (that was canceled) can still be used at that conference when we meet again. I am finishing up a paper for a virtual conference early next year. I have done nothing on two new planned articles because the sources I need for those are not digitized. I have not made any progress on the long-term book project because that involves oral histories and looking through private scrapbooks and other memorabilia in people's homes.
Because I research in Texas history, The Portal to Texas History, developed online by the University of North Texas, has become even more important. It has digitized newspapers and so much more. There are non-Texas articles in the major papers.
I have heard that though most archives are closed, you can contact the archivists and they will sneak in and scan documents for you if you ask nicely. ;-) I hope I am not getting the archivists in trouble here.
Familysearch.org is the LDS equivalent of ancestry.com and is free. There are lots of court and legal documents there.
Google scholar is a big help in finding new articles. And you can write to the authors of something particularly useful and ask if they have any other research done in that area. Most are happy to send you what they are not going to publish.

Happy researching!
Jean Stuntz
Regents Professor of history
West Texas A&M university

This resource isn't free unless you can get it through your university, but I've found Newspapers.com to be absolutely indispensable during quarantine. It gives you access to tons of newspapers--many more than Chronicling America, which is free--and has a very good word search function.

I would also second Jean's suggestion of finding and emailing other scholars who study what you study. I imagine that many of us have scanned copies of various manuscripts and collections just sitting on our hard drives that we'd be happy to share.

Jean, thanks. I thought I was the only one who had slowed down to a stop and had trouble re-starting. Today is a new day. Luckily I have a deadline to meet so I have some milestones to clear but it looks like my article will get finished in time for the conference and the journal I plan to submit it too.