Michelle SY Min: Birth of a Research Topic
February 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
I threw out the topic of US birthing practice in last Monday’s class as a practice topic for Booth’s TQR. It made me realize that there are many different ways to approach the topic but that I am still interested in the challenge.
Here is my crude TQR:
I am interested in studying changes in birthing practices, customs and attitudes in the United States between the 18th and 20th centuries to find out how conflicting perceptions of labor in the United States is related to the rise of the medical field of obstetrics in order to show my reader that popularity of hospital birth is limited to recent American social history.
Keywords that I used:
birthing practice: I used this because it was a starting place (few results but one that is exactly what I was looking for)
Midwives — Cross-cultural studies: I used this because it was a subject heading for a previous search
Childbirth: I used this just to see the results, but had minimal success
Birth customs: This was a tweak of “childbirth”. I didn’t like that it didn’t narrow down to the US.
Natural childbirth — United States — History — 20th Century (good hits)
Twilight Sleep: thought it would be searchable within some books but there were no results
At this point I realized that I wasn’t searching within Main Stacks so I tried again..
Keywords that I used for Main Stacks collection:
childbearing — united states: turned out hits about premarital pregnancy rates.
“childbirth — united states”: Good hits. Somehow yielded results that I didn’t see when I was searching all collections.
The best books I found related to my topic:
“Brought to bed: childbearing in America, 1750 to 1950″ by Judith Walzer Leavitt. Moffitt.
“Childbearing in American society, 1650-1850″ by Catherine M. Scholten. Main Stacks.
Summary of findings:
-Subject headings are very useful for moving catalog search forward
-Can input century to narrow results
-Two dashes (“–”) can narrow results further