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Boatwright Memorial Library

HUM 398: History of Human Expression: Humanities Research Tools and Materials

Types of Research Materials Characteristic of the Humanities

Any object of material or intellectual, or performative culture may become the subject of humanistic research, which is typically interpretive, historical, contextual, and/or iterative (or dialogic, meaning it is always conducted with the expectation of feedback or pushback). Research  can also be materials based (as in painting or sculpture), sociological (feminist, Marxist, etc). There are many variants of all of these, which are explicated in this document from Harvard University. [ Note that they have no identifying information on their pdf. Don't ever make that mistake!]



The materials of humanities research are, in the first instance, primary texts: literature, diaries, letters, photographs, advertisements, eyewitness accounts, films, music, choreography, architecture, gardens, etc.

Secondary texts, offering interpretations of their own, are also an important part of research for the student of literature, history, the arts, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines. Texts that primarily put forth a theory may serve either role.

Finding Journal Articles in Literature, Film, and Art

These databases are useful for finding articles, essays, and book chapters on language, literature, linguistics, and related topics. If the full text is not in the database you are searching, click the Locate It  button or use the Journal Titles search in the red box on the main page to determine whether we have access to a journal. If we do not have access to a journal article or book, you can request it from our Interlibrary Loan service.

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