In your Essay, you will need to make an historical argument and then provide evidence that supports it. The strongest evidence for historical arguments generally comes from primary source documents. A primary source document is anything (for example, letters, articles, books, videos, objects, etc.) produced in the time period you are writing about. Scholarly secondary sources (for example, historical articles or books) as well as journalistic articles from reputable sources (for example, the New York Times, NPR, etc.) can also provide strong evidence. Other kinds of more popular sources – for example, Wikipedia, blogs, websites, etc. – should not be used as evidence to support your arguments.
In last week’s assignment, you came up with explanations for 3 different historical events or trends in psychology. Choose one explanation that you would like to focus on for your Essay (make sure that you do not choose any of the examples that I provided), and start finding evidence to support it. You could:
1) Read the textbook, Wikipedia, and other general sources about your chosen figure and try to find the relevant primary and scholarly sources cited there. In other words, use these general sources to lead you to stronger forms of evidence (like primary and scholarly sources).
2) Search the internet for any primary sources – for example, original documents written by your chosen person (for example, on the Psych Classics website) or videos, oral histories, letters, and other documents related to your profile (for example, on the Psychology’s Feminist Voices website).
3) Do an index search (for example, on Google Scholar, Psychinfo, etc.) for scholarly articles or books about your chosen person or for primary source documents written by her.
An example Essay topic might be: “Galton and his students constantly measured human traits and capacities because they were using these measurements to evaluate individual ‘fitness’ as part of a eugenic program.” Examples of evidence that might be used to support this argument include: a) Quotes from Galton’s academic books and articles (for example, Hereditary Talent and Character) where he explains anthropometry (measuring people) in terms of Eugenic goals; b) A historical record showing that Galton and his students all held the “Eugenics Chair” at University College, London; c) A scholarly research article describing Galton’s anthropometric laboratories and their connection to Eugenic societies.
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