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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Archival Research

27th June, 2009 in MA IIYr. Class
(The following content is a note prepared by Fr. Jijo and Joe Jacob on Mr. Pinto’s lecture on Archival Research on 27th June, 2009 in MA IIYr. Class. )
Pedagogy: The topic was discussed among students in bench-work-groups and the reports were compiled later. Clarity with regard to the difference between methods, methodology and skills is required when you further proceed on research methodology.
Discuss the following hypothesis in with your companions on the benches. If someone has to write a history of Christ University, s/he has to do a research. What are the steps one will take to write the history?
The students came up with the following answers
Data Collection

Written and Visual Records
1. Have a background idea of the University from the available sources, have a structure of what you want to write about. (If you have no idea what to look for you will have endless materials and endless searching)
2. Take notes on the documents, journals, magazines, Newspaper writings about Christ, publications by the institution and its staff, brochures, chronicles, minutes of the MC s and Sponsoring bodies staff meetings and other bodies that make critical decisions, Documents of the sister concerns, Land records, MoUs with Government and Universities, Placement files, Department Files, Diaries of the founding fathers and key figures related to the institution and similar other documents.
3. Visual History: through photographs, websites
4. Social History of the time of foundation, through Government census, Demography Documents, History books about the period.
Oral Accounts

5. Interview: Interviewing alumni of Christ, fathers worked, working, long term serving staff, Funding Agencies, other colleges for opinions, impressions, founding fathers (if anyone is alive)
6. Divide between events and interpretations
7. Find alternative interpretations if available
8. Find sources for the gaps either in the oral or written records, if there are
Define Perspectives of Interpretation
Actual Writing

Mr. Pinto commented at the end of the discussion that the following matters should be born in mind while doing an archival research.
Data collection done with the surety of what one is looking for. To define that one must find the Framing Questions.
Then List the sources

However before all these you must Challenge your own idea of history, what is archive. Read Foucault Derrida and Freud on archives.
Question oneself; do I know the theoretical ground of what I am researching.
Mr. Pinto concluded the class saying , Archival research is a journey towards loneliness. It is a rigorous lonely work with books ideas and away from the rest of the world.