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Studies in Drama - Documenting Performance: ENG 4297

Research help for the course, ENG 4297: Studies in Drama - Documenting Performance

Why Use News?

Newspapers on The Wall Street Journal Rack. Photo by Philip Strong on UnsplashNews sources (newspapers, magazines, news blogs, news broadcasts, news feeds, etc.) are written by reporters (aka journalists) on topics of current interest.

When and Why You Should Use News Sources:

  • You need information on a recent event or topic of interest
  • You need eyewitness accounts of events
  • You need reports on activities of state and local government
  • You need insights into local culture, arts & entertainment
  • You need perspectives from underrepresented groups
  • You need sources that advocate a particular viewpoint or opinion

Remember: Not all news sources are created equal! Some have hidden (or obvious!) motives or political beliefs. Do some background research into who owns the news organization to learn more about it.

Performance Reviews in Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the most prominent sources for performance reviews. Below are some of the key databases with review content. Some of them also allow you to pre-limit to reviews as a publication type.

To determine what resource you'll need, consider the context of the review you're looking for:

  • Do you need a review from a particular city's newspaper(s)?
  • Do you need reviews for a contemporary performance or a historical one?

Search Tips for Finding Performance Reviews

Some tips that work in most, if not all, of the online search tools:

  • Use whatever information you already know in your search. Include elements like:
    • Piece/work title
    • Composer/playwright/choreographer, or performer
    • Critic's name
       
  • Use quotation marks and use AND between each element, such as: "The Children's Hour" AND "Lillian Hellman"
    • The quotation marks let the database know that you need those words to appear together and in that order and the AND limits the results to articles containing both phrases.
       
  • Look for options in whatever tool you are searching to limit your search (often in the advanced search, if there is one) to:
    • a particular time period if you need reviews of a premiere, for example
    • particular newspaper/publication
    • to just "Reviews" as an item type