Friday, January 30, 2009

library day

I myself prefer writing papers over taking tests. With tests there is always that pressure of: did I study the ‘right’ thing? Did I study enough? Is the teacher going to want very specific knowledge or just main overarching ideas? Which often leads to over studying out of paranoia. But, when you are writing a paper, you are in control of the main ideas, and don’t have to worry about surprises.

The day in the library with Mr. Svitavsky was just like many other days we have all been subject to. They are often dreaded, because they are thought of as highly boring; informing us of things that we already know. I am a freshman, and that is the third time I have sat through a lecture very similar to that. However, I thought that he did a good job. He seemed very interested in what he was talking about, trying to engage a rather disinterested seeming class.

He showed us many books that are very useful to the research process of writing papers. These included, but is not limited to, books such as The timetables of History, American Decades, and American Eras, that are all time-lines, and are interesting ways to find a reference point for different times in history. He also talked about educational websites for finding legitimate primary and secondary sources. One of the websites that may be a good website for a research paper in our class is This website is about documenting the American South.

He also explained the different reasons for why when researching you would use a primary source sometimes and a secondary source other times. If you want a first hand account of an event in history, you would use a primary source. Such as an article from that time, or someone’s diary they kept. When using a secondary source you would be looking at more of an analysis of a time period. Someone who has already researched a time period, or event, and have synthesized information about it in the form of analysis.

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