Rideau Canal Research Methods

There are many methods of research, and each individual will ultimately settle into his or her own techniques and practices. Examine the volume of secondary sources to be found on the Rideau Canal, these resources can be used as tools with which to locate primary source material. Sometimes reading the bibliography/endnotes/ footnotes from the book first will give you the most valuable information with which to begin your research. You may begin to see patterns in other individuals’ research, such as the use of the same archival documents from the same repositories.

As many secondary sources have built upon primary sources in their works, you will be able to find the sources they consulted right there in the body of the text, footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies. Sometimes you will need to hunt deeper for these sources because the format for citations is not always consistent from one book to another. Older publications by private agencies often allowed the writer to use his or her own citation methods, to which you may not be accustomed.

1. Look at this page from the endnotes in Passfield’s Engineering the Defence of the Canadas. What do you notice about these endnotes? What makes it difficult to locate the records he is referencing?

• Many Rideau Canal sources will cite PAC (Public Archives of Canada) as a source for documents. They may also cite NAC (National Archives of Canada) and more recent publications may use LAC (Library and Archives Canada). These are all the same institution, but over the years the name of the repository has changed with different Acts of Parliament. You cannot rely on the age of the document to determine the use of the acronym. Newer publications may use the old PAC acronym for one of two reasons: (a) they were copying the reference from another source, or (b) the citation from the institution used the older reference.
Archives and Research Collections, Carleton University

© 2012, Carleton University. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans