Guidelines for Research Journal #1

Our goal with this research exercise is to begin thinking about the kind of researchable questions we can ask of the world, using Frederick Douglass as our test case. Begin by exploring the Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress’s American Memory digital archive. If you don’t know where to begin with the archive, look at the list of the various sections and simply select one that sounds intriguing. Eventually, settle upon one artifact and examine it as closely as you can. (You can often click on the “higher quality image” link to view the images full-size.)

When you’re ready, log into our blog and select the New Post button. The first thing you should do in your post for the HNRS 110 Research Journal is name the item you examined. Use this chain icon:

in the toolbar to link the item’s name to its page at the Library of Congress. Then consider the following questions:

  1. What can you learn about the artifact itself by looking at it? What can you learn about its date, its age, its purpose, and so on.
  2. What kind of things could this artifact tell us about Frederick Douglass or the world he lived in?
  3. What kind of new questions does examining this artifact yield?

You only have 200-300 words, so be concise and precise. There’s no need to provide a lofty introduction or to write up a thesis statement followed by supporting evidence. Just dive right into your analysis of this object and the kind of questions it both answers and provokes. Be sure to have this exercise completed and posted by the time class starts on Tuesday, September 7.

About Professor Sample

Mark Sample is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at George Mason University, where he researches and teaches contemporary and experimental literature, electronic literature, graphic novels, and videogames.