Basic Research 101 Prerequisite
Since someone suggested the need for some research concepts, and since this went down with the previous incarnation of this Forum, I am putting this series back up.
Research and research methodology can be the subject matter of entire courses, let alone a posting. And, the nature of the inquiry or study can determine the methodology and techniques of the research.
When it comes to the various hobbies called “Civil War Reenacting” or “Civil War History” the research tends to take the form of research into three things relating to the “life and times” of the CW soldier: 1. the minute details of his physical world in terms of clothing and gear, 2. the environment and (recreating as many aspects as possible of) aspects of his daily life- what he did and how he did it, and 3. the nature of the man himself in terms of appearance, thoughts, speech, mannerisms, beliefs, etc.
To craft those three elements into a pursuit, an interest, an avocation, a “hobby,” an believable "impression," we must research the daily life and world of the CW soldier. To do that we depend upon three types of resources: “primary, secondary and tertiary.”
Remembering that everyone is somewhere on the path of their own personal "journey" and moving at different speeds along the way; one needs to keep questioning and challenging assumptions and what we hold to be true about the Past.
To evolve and learn and grow, one should perhaps:
1. Think. Theorize. Ask questions.
2. Affirm, deny, or back that up by seeking answers from primary, secondary, and tertiary resources.
3. Seek answers from period documents and writings, images, surviving artifacts, and relics in public and private collections.
4. Seek reference books, on-line electronic resources, and human resources. A good, basic, and affordable federal "primer" is the Columbia Rifles' RESEARCH COMPENDIUM for example. Inter-library loan (ILL) can provide books not usually found on shelves.
5. Find like-minded individuals to serve as resources, guides, or mentors (units, messes, or just persons).
6. Focus on one great impression and hammer on it. Don't try to "do" to many impressions at one time, as they can get diluted and muddled in the beginning.
7. Divide up the tasks. Research clothing and gear as separate endeavors that then can be combined, enhanced, improved upon. Research the "Civil War Era" to see what is going on around the man and "in the man's head." . Research and attend events that support the growth process, and historical environment like EBUFU events.
8. Continually ask "Who am I?" "What do I have?" and "What am I doing here and how did I get here?"
9. Just because you hear something, or read something, do not accept it as fact. Confirm or deny by researching and discussing.
10. Plug what you learn back into Step 1, and constantly work at refining, improving, and updating the three elements. (clothing and gear, the physical and mental "man," and historical based activities)
People come into the “hobby” at the level of beginner and newcomer, but fall victim to “reenacting culture” that is not researched or factually based, but rather based upon reenacting traditions, lore, myth, Hollywood/TV, and “sutler row” documentation which often is no more than “if it is for sale, it must already be documented.” The World Wide Web/Internet combined with local library ILL (inter-library loan) program can make resources available that were unheard of 15 or 20 years ago.
Regarding the AC Forum, different people have different visions of what it is, or what it should be, and since different lads are at different points on their personal Historical Journey- they have different and differing needs. . For me, I see it as a great tool to sharing, and improving both my own as well as possibly others’ efforts and impressions- so I tend to freely answer questions where possible. Others rightfully see it as something more, something more “authentically minded” people can use for upper-level, more sophisticated, more intellectually and impression refined pursuits. And then there are the majority of lads somewhere in between.
We tend “all” to be more of “consumers of research” than true “producers of research.” And everyone is on the curve somewhere, and the more one researches and learns- the further one tends to grow and evolve.…
Next: Research 102
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt
-Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
-Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
-Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
-Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.