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FYWB 1129: Speculating the Past (Schwartz)

Research Librarian

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Meredith Wisner
Meredith Wisner
Research & Instruction Librarian for the Arts
Office: 306 Milstein

Mon & Tues: Zoom only
Wed - Fri: In-person/Zoom

Personal Librarians

Personal Librarians: By Department 

Erin Anthony Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Neuroscience and Behavior, Physical Education, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology 
Jennie Correia Economics, Human Rights, Political Science, Sociology, and Urban Studies
Jenna Freedman Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Zines
Gina Levitan American Studies (with Vani Natarajan), Classics & Ancient Studies, Education, German, History, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Philosophy, Religion, and Slavic Studies 
Vani Natarajan Africana Studies, American Studies (with Gina Levitan), Anthropology, Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures, Comparative Literature, English, French, Italian, Jewish Studies, and Spanish and Latin American Cultures 
Meredith Wisner Architecture, Art (studio), Art History, Dance, Film Studies, Music, and Theater

Personal Librarians for Incoming Students:

Incoming Students, last names A-C Jennie Correia
Incoming Students, last names D-I Gina Levitan
Incoming Students, last names J-N Erin Anthony
Incoming Students, last names O-S Meredith Wisner
Incoming Students, last names T-Z Vani Natarajan 

Sophomores/ Undeclared Returning Students

If you were assigned a PL last year, your personal librarian hasn’t changed! And all are welcome to continue reaching out to the librarian(s) they wish.  

About This Guide

Research Guide for First-Year Writing: Speculating the Past

In this guide, you'll find resources to help you with your research:

  • Resources to research background and contextual information on your topic and the approaches you might beBoxes of documents on repository shelving at the National Archives bringing to your research 
  • Places to find books in print and online
  • Databases for locating articles, including scholarly and peer-reviewed articles
  • Resources for citing your sources and writing
  • Guidelines for getting required course texts for free via the Library
  • Resources for accessing library resources remotely

Please feel free to book an appointment with me on my calendar page, for further support with your research.

Image: The National Archives (United Kingdom). Boxes of War Office documents on repository shelving at The National Archives in Kew (June 3, 2008). Via Wikimedia Commons. (CC BY 3.0)


Choosing a Topic


It may feel really overwhelming to choose a research topic. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a text and/or concept or problem that interests you. This can be your starting place---be prepared for this to change a bit as you develop your research!
  • Write down keywords and key phrases that relate to what you are interested in, and the questions you want to ask as you research. Think of alternative terms. If you want to visualize them spatially, start a concept map, or mind map. 
  • Research backgrounds and contexts, if you would like (see the Reference page some reference sources that can help with this). 
  • Use the words and phrases on your concept map in your searches across catalogs and databases. Try out different combinations!
  • As you begin to review the sources you have found, think about how you might want to develop the shape of your topic---by making it more specific, or broadening it, or approaching it differently than you did when you started. 
  • Carefully skim each source to assess its relevance and use to your research. Look for clues in abstracts, tables of contents, citations, and indexes. You don't have to spend time on sources that you find less relevant—take what you need, and leave the rest!
  • Document and cite your sources as you go along - this will make the paper-writing process much easier.