Research Methods

This page offers research strategies to support both written and production-based projects in Theater, Dance and Media. These strategies range from locating texts, reviews, and production documentation to researching people, events and ideas in theater history. Please note: These guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather practical entry points for your projects. You will, doubtless, move beyond the parameters of these guidelines. But if you get lost in the rabbit hole of research, these pages offer a platform to which you can always return.

Points of entry:

Finding a Play lists databases where full texts, scores and libretti can be found either online or in the Harvard library system. It also offers contacts for many of the leading play publishers for the purposes of obtaining rights for production.

Researching People connects students with databases, special collections, websites and scholarly journals related to research on artists, producers and other personae in the history of theater and performance. Our case study on biographical research showcases various methods of inquiry and the identification of primary and secondary sources, including access to the unique collections available to us in the Harvard Library system.

Researching Events or Topics offers expanded strategies for inquiry into events and ideas which may not be so easily definable, and which may require thinking beyond the obvious keyword search. Our case studies demonstrate these strategies, suggesting ways students can locate avenues of research that will enrich their work with a multiplicity of perspectives.

Researching Performance Histories provides guidelines for tracing specific plays and/or productions through time. Resources can range from archival matter in Harvard’s Theatre Collection to streaming video of contemporary performances.

As you navigate these pages, TDM Librarian Steve Kuehler will be available to field questions and troubleshoot complications as you encounter them.