Trying to Make Heads or Tails from the Citeable Notes Readings

I know that I said that I would blog on my search results this time, but I promise to do so in my next one, I am just so excited about looking at my reading/notetaking/recording in a different light. I am almost overwhelmed at the many possibilities that this now presents… where to start?

For my choice of article to blog on this week, I chose a source, which was partly responsible for my initial idea to set out to disprove the standing history of the “ragged” rebel. This article was first published in 1989 by Leslie D. Jensen. In this series of articles, titled “A Survey of Confederate Central Government Quartermaster Jackets” Jensen provides some startling data drawn from surviving records showing staggering numbers of uniforms, including jackets, trousers, caps, and shoes. These numbers are from later in the war, which support the theory of Confederate forces being better supplied later in the war, more so than earlier in the conflict.

I chose to look at this three part article using the citeable notes fashion described in this week’s readings. In doing so, I found myself almost seeing the information for the first time, as it revealed much more this time around. I started looking at the way Jensen cited his sources, where those sources came from, the details that I had forgotten since I had read this article last, and so on. I started noting many more secondary sources, as before I had been focused on the primary accounts, etc. My article is now a marked up, highlighted, underlined, note laden research tool in itself.

I wanted to start recording my notes, or at least vital information in such a way t hat I could recall where they came from, but I began to notice myself wanting to use almost all of the article(s), especially the portions dealing directly with my research interest, (specifically on the Army of Northern Virginia) as there were too many valuable details to get left behind. This dilemma is one that I wish to bring up in class this week, as I am looking for ideas and suggestions on how to help sort the massive amounts of information found in such a resource wealthy source. I find myself trying to make heads or tails from the citeable sources readings, as I have many more questions about the research I am finding now. This week’s assignment has opened my eyes to a new way of researching and taking note of valuable information, yet, I feel that I now have a whole new source, although I have been aware of the article(s) since 1989.

Dr. Quigley also gave me a secondary source, which has been very helpful; it is a book written by Harold S. Wilson called Confederate Industry. After reading through it, (at least at a first cursory read), I found evidence that also begins to solidify my argument, which Wilson goes into great detail describing in painstakingly well researched information from original sources. (Confederate Industry, Wilson, 2002, ppg. 178-179, – uniforms issued, shoes, material, etc. run through the blockade on 84 steamers, from April – December.) 1864.




2 thoughts on “Trying to Make Heads or Tails from the Citeable Notes Readings”

  1. Your goal at this stage of research is to figure out where the material you need to know can be found. That’s different from “knowing” all the information. I use post-it notes that tell me if I need to know something factual about “uniforms” for example, it will be where I’ve put the post-it with “uniforms” on it. Then, when I’m writing about uniforms I can gather all the sources and review them. Citeable notes are about ideas, theses, questions, arguments authors make, not so much about fact/information-gathering. Not sure this explanation of difference makes sense, but we can talk about it in class.

  2. I, too, was excited by the “citable notes” theory introduced in our readings. Instead of using this method of note taking to cull information out of my secondary sources, I tried to focus on bigger-picture information from the book. If I had to sum up this chapter or section with one sentence, what would it be? Usually, the answer to this is less about facts than it is about what Dr. Jones mentioned–ideas, theses, and arguments. That’s how I tried to go about this, at least, and found it very helpful!

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