Through this week’s assignment, I found out rather quickly that in order to find something you don’t know about it helps to study the question and think about the most likely place you would find an answer.
For the first item, which was an op-ed on labor disputes involving teachers before the 1970s, I knew that op-ed articles were likely to be found in newspapers, and since the article had to be found before 1970, I chose ProQuest- Historical Newspapers to start my research. I first searched for “(labor disputes) AND (teachers)” in the years before 1970, but it was too broad. I decided to be more specific for the kind of document I want to be searched, so I narrowed down the document types to be searched to editorials. I then added “AND (public schools)” and narrowed the years down to 1960-1969 and found this article. I find this article to be a good answer for this item as it is an opinion on what the dispute is really about and how it should be handled.
The second item was about the first documented use of solar power in the United States. Since the question is about solar power’s first use, I knew the answer had to be historical. And since this also had to take place in America, I decided to use the Ebsco site America: History and Life, which is a database holding recent journals about American’s past. I didn’t exactly find my answer at Ebsco, but it did give ideas for where to look. First, at Ebsco, I searched for “(solar power) AND (first) AND (use)”, and found this article. I read the abstract, and learned that experiments with solar power dated back to 1883. The abstract also mentioned Bell Laboratories for creating a device that used solar power. I thought that a device like this would be a big deal and would have to have been reported to the media. So I went back to ProQuest to find newspapers on any solar powered devices created by Bell Labs [(solar power) AND (bell laboratories)]. Though I did find some articles referring to Bell Labs, I noticed that many of the articles were dated to the 1950s, and since solar power has been tinkered with since the late 1800s, I knew there had to be some earlier documentation on its use before the Bell Labs devices. I then typed in “(solar power) AND (history)” and found this article dating back to 1901. I also found the same article on Harper’s Weekly (though it dates to 1903).
The third and final item was about the history of California voter initiatives, which I had a difficult time finding through databases. I used ProQuest- Government Periodicals Index and ProQuest- Congressional but found nothing on the item. I still did not understand the meaning behind “ballot initiative”, so I looked up the words on Google and stumbled upon this website, featuring the history of California initiatives form 1912-2012 (who’d thought?). Still not understand what a “ballot initiative” is, I go to this Wiki for more information, but looking at its external links, I find this website (and this one), which leads me to a PDF file with a detailed, historical listing of CA initiatives.