There are many types of primary sources that illustrate the history of conspiracy theory and moral panic in Canada. Here are a few examples:
Government debates (also known as Hansard): Senate Debates, 7th Parliament, 4th Session, Vol. 1 on the Protestant Protective Association
Organizational records, publications or propaganda: Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons
News articles: He Votes for Brains: Is Fluoridation All a Plot?
Speeches and media broadcasts: Aberhart on Social Credit: A Radio Broadcast
TASK: Skim the first few pages of the following article from your course readings. examining both the footnotes and the article text.
Canadiana Online: Includes early government documents/legislation, some early newspapers, religious tracts and special interest group publications of various kinds. Best for topics up to the early 20th century.
Historical newspapers: Newspapers are an accessible form of primary source for those new to this type of research. MRU provides access to numerous papers, including some dating back to the mid-19th century (Toronto Star, Globe and Mail) and earlier.
Historical Debates of the Parliament of Canada (Hansard): Includes all verbatim accounts of all debates of the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons from the first session in 1867 to 1994 (House of Commons) and 1996 (Senate).
Peel's Prairie Provinces: Documents the settlement and development of the Canadian West, with a focus on Alberta, and dating back to the earliest days of exploration in the region. A good source of political and special interest related tracts and pamphlets (e.g. Social Credit).
University of Calgary Digital Collections - Includes useful sources on the history of Alberta, including early newspapers, legal history and a local history book collection. For best results, limit your search to only the most relevant collections for your topic.
Being able to organize your thoughts and navigate large collections of sources/references as you are researching is an important skill. Each researcher must choose the approach that works best for them.
Citation management software products like Mendeley and Zotero (amongst many others) are automated tools that assist researchers in managing their research sources. They allow you to store and manage your references/sources, create citations and bibliographies, and take notes on your sources. See the tabs here for advice on which one might be a match for you.
Many researchers use less technical methods very effectively - cue cards and handwriting, simpler software such as Word or Excel, or combinations of several methods. You should pick the one that is right for you.
This guide offers some examples and advice on the benefits of each method.
Reasons to consider Mendeley:
If you are not interested in learning a new software product, you might want to consider a more familiar program to help you organize your thoughts and sources. Below are two simple examples.
- How I Use Excel to Manage My Literature Review - One researcher explains how she used Excel to manage her PhD literature review.
- Scholarly Research Log - This is a simple, MS Word table based method of keeping track of your sources and thoughts. This could be expanded to create a separate document for each source you read, where you house citation information and your research notes.
Tips for file management:
- Establish a systematic way of naming your digital files. You should be able to tell what is in the file without having to open it.
- Include dates in file names. Be consistent in your approach - e.g., YYYY-MM-DD
- Include versions in the file name when you begin to draft your paper - e.g., draft1;. draft5
- BACK UP YOUR WORK. Using Google Drive or your MRU H-Drive is a good strategy for avoiding data loss.