Since I am planning to continue my independent project next semester, during which time I will write my final paper, there was not a natural answer to the question of exactly what I will produce as my demonstration of learning for this semester. While meeting with T. Margaret a few weeks ago, we decided that I should create an extensive annotated bibliography to turn in at the end of the semester. I am very grateful to T. Margaret for coming up with this suggestion, as I think it is by far the best option for me given where I am at the moment. Initially, I was considering producing an outline of my final paper as my demonstration of learning for this semester, but I have realized that I am not far enough along in the research process to foresee-ably accomplish this by the beginning of January. Additionally, creating an in-depth review of the sources I have encountered will give me the opportunity to reexamine material that has faded from my memory and to address the crucial question of how the literature fits together.
After T. Margaret and I decided that I should spend the rest of the semester working on an annotated bibliography, we asked T. Victoria Jones for some guidance as to what this might look like. T. Victoria made the suggestion that I go beyond an annotated bibliography and create a literature review. This webpage from the University of Southern California, which she linked me to, was incredibly helpful as I went about figuring out just what a literature review is. Essentially, it is a more in-depth version of an annotated bibliography, which examines sources not just individually but in relation to one another. According to T. Victoria, writing a literature review is a step often taken by graduate students and doctoral candidates before they begin working on their actual thesis or dissertation. Therefore, I imagine that this process has a lot of merit as a method of preparing for a thesis-based research paper.
Once I decided to take T. Victoria’s advice and work on a literature review, my next step was to decide exactly what kind of literature review to write, as several different types exist. The type I have encountered most often in the field of medieval history is the historical review, which examines the progression of scholarship over time. However, I have concentrated my research on relatively recent sources due to time constraints and thus lack the familiarity with older work necessary to produce this kind of review. After consulting T. Victoria again, I decided that my literature review will be an integrative review, which, according to the USC website, “reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated.” My review will examine scholarship pertaining to the period between the Lords Appellant Crisis and the beginning of Richard II’s tyranny. By looking in depth at this particular topic instead of continuing to look broadly at the reign as I have spent most off my time doing so far, I hope to crystalize the direction in which I will ultimately take my final research paper. I look forward to returning to the blog next semester with updates on my progress!
Image from https://www.familytree.com/blog/basic-ideas-when-doing-family-history/