In order to find background information for the specific Supreme Court cases we discussed, we used the website Oyez.org, which is an archive of Supreme Court cases. This website was very useful as it was both easy to navigate and provided us with helpful case summaries and metadata.
Before using Oyez.org to find the specific supreme court cases, however, we first needed to know which cases were important to the University of Scranton students and faculty. To accomplish this we searched within the University of Scranton Digital Collections, which is the digital archive of the Weinberg Memorial Library. Using search terms such as “supreme court”, “affirmative action”, and “case”, we were able to discover several articles from The Aquinas, which is the University of Scranton student newspaper. These articles, which served as our primary sources for this project, contained valuable information on the views of the University of Scranton students and faculty on and in regards to important Supreme Court cases dealing with the issue of affirmative action.
To further glean information from the court cases and The Aquinas newspaper articles that we used to answer our research question, we used the text mining program Voyant to look at the usage frequency of words in said articles and cases. This was done to give us a better understanding of the content of these texts and what that content could tell us, with the goal of finding an answer to our research question. For example, if the articles were to come up with an overwhelming amount of positive terminology, then the overall sentiment of the articles would be positive. In using this program, we used both the Optical Character Recognition software that is applied to the newspapers when they are entered into the library’s digital archives, along with a manual transcription of the articles text when necessary. Ultimately, the results we received from Voyant were unhelpful in answering our research question.
To find the secondary sources we used to gain a better understanding of the larger context we searched within the online database JSTOR and the catalog at the Weinberg Memorial Library, using search terms similar to those that led us to our primary sources.