This is a general outline of research steps for the Script Analysis (THEA152) research assignment. All the items listed below are in the Greenfield Library or available online. Be sure to ask for assistance if you don't find what you need - there's much more information available. If you have questions about this topic please contact Sara MacDonald, Public Services Librarian.
If you are new to research, there are many sources to help you get started:
- Outline for Research
- You should have a copy of A Writer's Reference or The Curious Researcher from First-Year Writing. A Writer's Reference has an excellent section on research, and of course The Curious Researcher is all about research.
- A FREE web site that can help you figure out how to cite something is Research and Documentation Online: Humanities: Documenting Sources. See the options on the left.
BEST ADVICE OF ALL: Don't wait until the last minute to start your research. College-level research takes time.
FINDING THE PLAY
- Find your play by looking up the author or the title in the library catalog. When searching by author be sure to search the last name first.
- If you can't find a play by searching for the title, try a keyword search. Put quotation marks around phrases, e.g., "blood wedding". Keyword will find your words in contents notes, thus allowing you to find your play in an anthology.
PRIMARY RESEARCH SOURCES
Primary sources for this project include the play itself, reviews of the play, the author's own words about his or her work or the particular play.
Other primary sources include the country and the culture of the time in which your play is set, so as part of your analysis you may want to look at music, art, films, mass media, popular culture, etc., from your play's time period. One way to find out what was going in is with a chronology. A chronology is a book that lists events through history; they are often arranged in broad categories of the arts, history, politics, science, and daily life, although there are specialized chronologies as well. Check the index of any chronology for your topic. These chronologies can give you names of people and events that you can check in the library catalog or in other reference books.
The New York Times Guide to the Arts of the 20th Century. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2002.
REF 700.904 N42 v.1-4
"Reviews, News Articles, Interviews and Essays Capturing 100 Years of Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, Dance, Theater, Film and Television."--from the cover. Excellent source for seeing what else was going on in the arts when your play came out. Includes original reviews (a primary source!) from the New York Times and provides production credits. Check the index in volume 4 for your playwright.
Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon & Schuster, c1991.
REF 902 G92 1991
Chronicle of the 20th Century. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
REF 909.82 C468
Timelines of the Arts and Literature/ David Brownstone and Irene Franck. New York: HarperCollins, c1994.
REF 700.202 B825t 1994
The Arts: A History of Expression in the 20th Century/ edited by Ronald Tamplin. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
REF 700.904 Ar79t
Includes very little drama, but a good source for an overview of the arts in any particular period of the 20th century.
American History in Video/ Alexander Street Press, 2009- .
A streaming video database, this contains documentaries, newsreels, and vintage film footage related to American history.
SECONDARY RESEARCH SOURCES
To find biographical material about your author and criticism of the play, start in reference books. These are great sources and may be the only sources you'll need.
American Playwrights Since 1945: A Guide to Scholarship, Criticism, and Performance. Edited by Philip C. Kolin. New York: Greenwood Press, c1989.
REF 812.016 Am35g
For each playwright, includes assessment of reputation, primary bibliography of playwright's works, production history, survey of secondary sources, future research opportunities, and secondary sources. **Please note this is American playwrights only.**
International Dictionary of Theatre/ editor Mark Hawkins-Dady. Chicago; London: St. James Press, c1992. Volume 1, Plays.
REF 792.03 In8h v.1
Provides date and place of first production, brief synopsis, bibliography (usually), and a brief scholarly essay. Includes Blood Wedding, The Crucible, Fences, Major Barbara, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Pygmalion, Richard III, Twelfth Night,and Yerma. See also Volume 2, Playwrights.
International Dictionary of Theatre/ editor Mark Hawkins-Dady. Chicago; London: St. James Press, c1992. Volume 2, Playwrights.
REF 792.03 In8h v.2
Provides biographical information, list of works, a list of books and articles about the playwright, and a brief scholarly essay. See also Volume 1, Plays.
Drama Criticism: Criticism of the Most Significant and Widely Studied Dramatic Works From All the World's Literatures. Detroit: Gale Research, c1991- .
REF 809.2 D79g
Although primarily collections of criticism, these volumes are organized by author and include biographical material at the beginning of each author. Check the last volume to see which volumes include your author.
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research.
Similar to Drama Criticism, but covers different authors.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance/ edited by Dennis Kennedy. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
REF 792.03 Ox2k v.1-2
Basic overviews of many playwrights; bibliographies included for some. Includes a timeline toward the end of volume 2. Also available online.
Cambridge Guide to American Theatre/ edited by Don B. Wilmeth and Tice L. Miller. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
REF 792.0973 C144w
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama: An International Reference Work in 5Volumes / Stanley Hochman, editor in chief. New York: McGraw-Hill, c1984.
REF 809.2 M178h
Good for general overviews and a bibliography.
Selected Theatre Criticism/ Edited by Anthony Slide. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1985-
REF 792.015 Se48 v. 1, 1900-1919; v. 2, 1920-1930; v. 3, 1930-1950..
Selected reprints (i.e., the entire review) of theater reviews for the years covered.
**If you still would like more material go to the library catalog and look up your playwright's name by SUBJECT. Remember: LAST NAME FIRST when searching the catalog for people as author or as subject. Look for the subheading CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATION after your author's name. Again, a few of these books are on course reserve.
You will want to use a periodical index to find articles about your author or the play. A complete list of our electronic periodical indexes and databases is available on our Articles-Databases and Indexes page. These will probably be the most useful:
PLEASE NOTE: To access the databases listed here from off-campus, you will need to enter your UArts email login and password.
Last updated: 3/22/13 sjm