Skip to main content
InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

THEA History I & II: Picking/Refining A Topic

What does your research process look like?

Learning about your topic

Learn about your topic with overviews.

Encyclopedias may have entries summarizing movements, time periods, or people relating to your topic.  Books cover specific topics or provide summarizes; So, search the library catalog for books on your topic. 

  • Mine summaries for more information:
    • Synonymies for terms  
    • Names (of peoples, plays, artistic movements, buildings) 
    • Things you didn't know you didn't' know  
    • Dates and time periods (ex: Edwardian = 1901 -1910 or Regency ear = 1795-1837)

Example for Gleaning Information

Glean - extract information from various sources.

Don't have a topic?

The attached document shows how you might pull information to identify possible topics.

(See the highlighted sessions and corresponding comments.)  

Find a book summarizing your topic. Look at the Summary and Table of Context to determine if the book looks helpful.   

Search the Pepperdine University Libraries Catalog for books, ebooks, DVDs, journals, and more

Potentail Research Topics:

  • The evolution of playhouse structures (funding/patrons). 
  • Play writes and their role in shaping the era. 
  • The audience, play themes, and society.

Possible Research Questions (and Search terms): 

1. Raw question:  I don’t know yet but Lope de Vega was an important figure so there must be something about his contribution to the period (maybe he’s the Shakespeare of Spain?)

Search:  The Comedia AND Lope de Vega

2. Raw question:  Looking into Golden Age I’ve learned themes change from religious to broader secular subjects. A new genre emerged (Comedia) that commented on contemporary Spanish life; a cross-section of social classes watched these plays – why?  What do Spanish play themes reveal about society?  OR Why did the audience connect with these plays?   

               Search:  The Comedia AND (themes OR messages OR subject matter) AND the audience 

3. Raw question:  I don’t know yet but the establishment of permeate public theaters says something about the Gold Age of drama. Evolution of playhouse during the Golden Age from open-air plazas and taverns to permitted playhouse; maybe there is information about these playhouses importance, like how the Rose or Globe theater is significant for Elizabethan drama? (Funding might play a role in this research because the change in patronage seems to have affected where the plays were performed)

Search:  Madrid AND (Principe OR Curz OR public theaters)

4. Raw question: How did the origins (religious roots) affect the development of Golden Age drama? 

Search: Spanish Drama 1600s AND Secular festivals AND religious

Loading ...

What the research process can *feel* like


Jaimie Beth Colvin's picture
Jaimie Beth Colvin
Payson Room 231 next to Circulation Desk

Schedule Appointments via the Navigate App. (link in the bookmark icon bellow)

(310) 506-7432