Using JSTOR Text Analyzer in a History Survey

by Dr. Karl Johnson, Associate Professor of African American Studies.

I chose to do a Digital Assignment using JSTOR Labs Text Analyzer with my history course HIST 102-Modern America Since 1865 in Spring 2020. College History students are challenged in finding credible and updated primary and secondary sources to improve the content of their papers. Doing a regular Google search is problematic as there is a plethora of misinformation and outdated information on the Internet. JSTOR is a database that houses millions of well researched and credible Historical articles that have been vetted by Academics in  peer researched journals and conferences. Students are unaware of this JSTOR database and the purpose of my assignment is to make them aware of this knowledge and database, and to secondly have them use it in a thoughtful way to improve their historical writing.  In addition to this there is a feature to help students learn to cite their sources and use them correctly as well.

My assignment was broken into two parts. Assignment part 1 asked them to choose a topic from their college History text and to write about it. 

Assignment part 2 gives detailed instructions how to sign in and access the JSTOR Text Analyzer database, and to choose updated vetted historical articles to improve their content and context of what they previously wrote. Also importantly to use the function on how to cite the historical article properly using APA, MLA, or Chicago.

I deemed this Digital Assignment very successful as some students began to use it on their own on the other Historical writing assignments without me urging them. Also some students said they would use it in their future college history courses.

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