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History 3697: African, Asian, Caribbean, and Latin American History (Intermediate Writing Seminar): Home

Get help with your "interviewing" assignment.

The Assignment

This course requires students to conduct extensive interviews. Suppose the individual you interview mentions some person, or some event, or some place that needs a little more research to determine context. Does your interviewee's position reflect the viewpoints of many others, or is he/she an outlier in terms of their understanding of an event, movement, or controversy? How do historians and other scholars understand the issues your interviewee discussed?

This guide will help you to quickly and efficiently find credible library sources that contextualize and complicate your interviewee's narration.

Chicago Manual of Style

How This Libguide Can Help You

Professor Spodek's "interviewing" assignment provides students with the opportunity to explore reference works, a type of library resource frequently overlooked by students. Reference works can help researchers to quickly contextualize, for example, an historical event such as the Vietnam War; an historical phenomenon such as Mexican and Central American immigration to the United States; or an historical actor such as the genocidal dictator of Guatemala in the 1980s, Ríos Montt. Scholarly encyclopedia articles, and, in history, historiographical essays, summarize scholarly consensus and debates, identify the most useful secondary and primary works, and even suggest future directions for research.

Use the TULibraries' reference databases on this guide to...

  • find your interviewee.
  • find pro/con arguments that will complicate the views expressed by your interviewee. TULibraries’ pro/con databases can be especially useful in helping the researcher to track down points of view in opposition to those expressed by your interviewee. For example, you might have interviewed an elderly Indian woman opposed to, or in favor of, arranged marriages. Likewise, you might have interviewed a young Colombian man in favor of, or opposed to, the United States's "drug war" in Latin America. In both instances the pro/con databases could help you to find the "con" perspective, that is to say the arguments and positions contrary to those held by your interviewee.
  • find other reference works that will help you to quickly contextualize your interviewee's narrative. For example, perhaps you have interviewed a survivor of the Guatemalan Civil War (1962-1996). A good, scholarly encyclopedia article on this tragic event will likely discuss the connections between the civil war and a larger movement in Latin America to reassert indigenous autonomies. Another major facet of the war, perhaps mentioned by your interviewee, is the role played by women such as Rigoberto Menchú. Many of the scholarly encyclopedia articles about the war will point to its gendered aspects, and connect these to recent peasant conflicts around the globe. Yet another major historical theme is the conflict's genocidal aspect, which can of course be situated within the broader struggle for human rights around the globe. Finally, the Guatemalan Civil War might serve as a case study for the ways in which the post-war global struggle between the superpowers, that is to say between the United States and the former Soviet Union, exacerbated existing tensions in the so-called developing world. All of these and other angles will be revealed by a good scholarly encyclopedia article or historiographical essay, so try searching the TULibraries' reference databases listed on this guide for <Guatemala* AND “civil war”>, <Guatemala* AND genocide>, or similar searches.
  • properly cite your interviews using the Chicago Manual of Style and RefWorks.



RefWorks logo

Manage your citations with RefWorks, a tool that allows researchers to easily import, export, search, and create automatically formatted bibliographies online. Citations found via searches in library databases such as JSTOR and many other databases can be imported directly into RefWorks. No manual typing required. Bibliographies generated within RefWorks can then be exported to Word in virtually any citation format, e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian and others.

Guide Author

Rebecca Lloyd
Paley Library
Room 319

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