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Women's History: Original Research & Research Methods

Use this guide to learn more about researching women's history.

Primary Research Methods - Books to Consider

Conducting Primary Research

Primary research refers to your original research, specifically the information that you collect and analyze from the field. This includes conducting interviews, designing surveys, and observations. Use this page and check out the Purdue link below to learn more. 

Primary Research Resources

Interviews are a great way to gather qualitative information from subjects. Check out the links below to learn more about conducting interviews and get tools to help you build yours.

Questionnaires and surveys can help you collect information from specific population groups in a much more structured manner than an interview.

A questionnaire is a set of questions with a choice of answers used for a survey. A survey can be used to gather information about a specific topic or issue.

There are many different ways that you can conduct a survey; check out the sources listed below to learn more.

Statistics, data, and demographics are considered primary sources. They are primary because they are the raw materials from which scholars in the field will draw their own analysis and conclusion. Looking for data-sets to work with? Looking for ways to access Statistics, Data, and Demographics? Try one of these resources:

The Common Rule & Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Sarah Lawrence IRB

"The purpose of the Sarah Lawrence IRB is to support the practice of ethically sound scientific research with human participants by faculty, staff, and students of Sarah Lawrence College." Simply put, the IRB is in place to make sure the Sarah Lawrence community follows the regulations outlined in the Common Rule.

What is this?

When working with human subjects it is necessary to follow the Common Rule (Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects). The requirements and the regulations of the Common Rule are set forth in Title 45 Public Welfare, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office for Protection from Research Risks, Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects. The federal government created these regulations to protect human research subjects. The Common Rule is heavily influenced by the Belmont Report and was preceded by the Nuremberg Code and Declaration of Helsinki.

Why does it matter?

After discovering the Nazi experimentation that took place during World War II it was decided that regulations were needed to dictate appropriate behavior on human subjects. That is when the Nuremberg Code was written. In the United States more stringent regulations and the founding of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research were preceded by the Tuskegee Study

These horrible injustices, along with others, are the reason that the Common Rule is so important when conducting research on human subjects.