Tutor profile: Joana A.
How many sources should I use in a research paper?
Every paper you write will have a different purpose, audience, and information. The number of sources you use in a paper will change every time depending on the question that you are researching. Based on some of the papers that you've read, did you notice any trends? A good rule of thumb is to make sure that every source contributes to the thesis or to the argument that you are positing in your paper. The number isn't necessarily important, but the information is. However, each paper does need to be thoroughly researched to show your audience that you have put in the work to understand various angles of the question that you are addressing or the thesis you're positing. It adds to your credibility! The number of sources you use should reflect the contextual information that you have gathered and the direct evidence that you are using to effectively argue your thesis.
Subject: US History
How do we know what we know about American history?
That's such an excellent question! It's important to interrogate and question how we know what we know. Every subject has a methodology - a process through which they find information, compile data, and make a larger argument with that information. History is very similar. History is not just the study past and identity, but a discipline with a specific vocabulary and way of finding information. There are primary and secondary sources that we use to find information. Primary sources are information that were created in the time period we're studying that tell us about those particular people, spaces, and time. These can be government sources, newspapers, oral history interviews, diaries, letters, music, magazines, photographs, films, objects, etc. Secondary sources are sources that talk about the specific subject after the fact, using those primary sources. These can be history textbooks, books written by historians, museums, documentaries, etc. The important thing to remember when looking at any source - whether primary or secondary - is that we understand who it was created by, who it was created for, and what the purpose of the particular source was/is. We compare and contrast sources. Do they contradict one another? What are these sources not telling us? How do we find what those sources aren't telling us? We won't always know everything about the past because it's gone, but these are just some places to look. Since you're asking, we should look into some primary source work together to understand how historians (and anyone) can do this work.
Subject: European History
Was there Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime during the Holocaust? If so, what did it look like?
Jewish resistance to Nazi Germany in Germany and Nazi-occupied territories during the Holocaust (1933 - 1945) took on a variety of forms. One form that Jewish resistance took place was through Jewish families and individuals going into hiding, often defying orders to report to labor camps, concentration camps, or killing centers. Resistance also manifested through spiritual resistance, the idea that Jews took on activities such as religious or spiritual practice, art, documentation, or other forms to defy the Nazi regime's concerted effort to dehumanize Jews and other groups targeted during the Holocaust. Clandestine schools were held in schools to continue teaching students, and books were smuggled into ghettos. You can read more about spiritual resistance here: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/spiritual-resistance-in-the-ghettos There were also deeply complex Jewish resistance networks throughout Europe that engaged in physical or armed resistance in defiance of the Nazi regime. Uprisings took place in various killing centers, including Auschwitz. One of the most well-known examples of Jewish resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943. While the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were outnumbered by Nazi forces, they managed to hold out for a month. It inspired uprisings in other ghettos and killing centers. Let's read more about armed resistance together here: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/armed-jewish-resistance-partisans and about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising here: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/warsaw-ghetto-uprising. These sources detail more information, as well as include survivor testimony that describes first-hand accounts of resistance efforts by the Jewish community during the Holocaust.
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