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THAR 202: Intro to History of Drama and Dance

What is factual information?

One of the first steps in any research project is looking at your questions and determining what type of information will answer that question. Many of your sub-topics involve finding factual information to answer some questions. How do you know when you need to find factual information? 

Questions that begin with Who, When, or Where tend to require a factual answer. When you need to know the details of a particular event, the people who were involved, who a particular person was, or where something took place, you need to find factual information. 

There are many sources of factual information, and where you look will depend on the event, person, or place in question. Does your question involve current or historical events or people? Is it asking for a definition of a term, genre, or technique? Do you need to know what certain people said or wrote about an event? 

Current Events

If the topic you need to know more about is current, you'll most likely want to look to newspapers. The library provides access to many national newspapers; you can also access news stories directly from a newspaper's website. For example, if you're investigating a crime that took place in a particular city or state, look for the newspaper published in that city or state. News stories that you find on a newspaper's website are perfectly acceptable sources of factual information, but be sure you cite them correctly!

Historical Events

The Library has access to the archives of many newspapers and magazines from around the world. These can be great sources if you're looking for contemporary accounts of events that happened in the past. 

Background Information

For some information, particularly about particular theater or dance terms, movements, genres, people, and pieces, you'll want to turn to encyclopedias and other reference sources. Encyclopedias provide brief articles about a wide variety of topics. Wikipedia is a type of encyclopedia: You can look up particular topics, people, and places, and find enough information to give you a starting point and a beginning understanding of the topic. There are many encyclopedias that cover specific subject areas. 

Explore some of the resources below to begin to understand some of your topics and get ideas about where to go for more in-depth research. Some are available online and some only available in the library. It can be well worth a trip to the library to look at some of these resources.