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ENC1102 Pechter Robin Mueller: Part 3: Factual Context

This guide is intended to help you locate, evaluate, and use appropriate sources for your research paper assignment.

Historical Context: Part 3 of your Research Paper

This part of your paper should include two and a half to three pages that connect events from your novel with the historical time period in which it is set. First, determine the time period of your novel and then do some background reading on that period of history. You may also include sociological, psychological, or health science issues involving the characters that are relevant to a particular time or era. Just be sure to show specific connections between your novel and events or issues of historical significance.

Time Periods

Historical context includes the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a novel. Understanding the historical events surrounding a time period will help you compare actual events and issues to those in your novel. If you are reading Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, you might want to know about American perceptions of the war during the late 1960's and early 1970's.

You can find a wide selection of books at the nearest IRSC Library or go online to locate books and articles from the College's electronic collections.

Social or Psychological Issues

You can write about social and/or psychological issues that relate to the characters or events in your novel. Examples might include 'sexual harassment' in Disclosure or 'mental illness' in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Find Articles Related to the Time Period or Issues (online)

Use IRSC's online databases to find information about social, political, and economic issues during specific time periods. Look in the 'Alphabetical' listing for these suggested databases.

Contact an IRSC librarian if you need assistance.

Find Books (print)

To find books in an IRSC Library, use the online catalog. Here are some examples of books that are available and may help you to get started.