Teachers are welcome to cut and paste relevant material from the following Research Tips and Resources, and Interviewing Tips, to create handouts for students. If you have additional research tips specific to your area, e-mail them to and we will post them for other educators.

Research Tips and Resources

In addition to using the Canadian News Index, also check your library for the Index to Dance in Canada / Danse au Canada (Dance Collection Danse Press/es, ISBN: 0-929003-14-4). You will also need to find a library that contains issues of Dance in Canada magazines (1974-1989) within its holdings.

Vertical Files and Special Collections
The Toronto Reference Library's Performing Arts Department houses a Vertical File Collection. A Performing Arts librarian can direct you to these filing cabinets in which newspaper and magazine clippings, publicity materials and some house programmes have been collected by library staff. Files can be found under the names of individual artists and companies. It is likely that other large municipal libraries contain similar resources so be sure to ask at your local library. University and public libraries often contain "Special Collections" of archival material related to historical figures -- be sure to check such local sources in your area.

House Programmes
When researching early twentieth-century dance, students may not have complete success using Canadian news indexes because dance was not well indexed at the time, and indexes dated earlier than 1937 are rare. However, house programmes provide a first clue to finding material. Using the programme's date, one can scan microfilm or microfiche to find articles on that specific performance. For example, if choreographer Boris Volkoff gave a performance on May 9, 1936 at Toronto's Hart House Theatre, the researcher would not be able to use an index to find newspaper or magazine articles about this performance because indexes dating back this far are rare. However, knowing the date means that the researcher can visit a library that contains microfilm, select a Toronto publication dated May 1936 and begin scanning that month's news for articles.

La Grande bibliothèque in Montréal has a special collection of house programmes, of which almost a quarter were published before 1970.

Interviewing Tips

These interview tips can be applied to the mock interview component of this project but are also applicable to a number of other situations that students encounter. Source: Cumming, Carman and Catherine McKercher. 1994. The Canadian Reporter: News Writing and Reporting. Toronto: Harcourt Brace & Company.

  • Be polite, respectful and on time.
  • Prepare in advance. The more information you know, the more successful the interview will be. Do your research and prepare your questions in advance. Try to create a logical flow to the series of questions, for example, keep questions on a similar topic together, or ask questions in an order that follows the subject's career chronologically.
  • Try to synthesize the material as it's coming at you and insert questions that come to mind as the conversation unfolds. Don't feel that you have to stick to your question list strictly. Also, note to yourself when the subject ends up answering a question that you haven't asked. Sometimes a subject's answer can be very thorough and he or she may inadvertently answer a question that you have in mind but haven't asked yet. You don't want to ask a question that has already been answered.
  • Ask "open" as opposed to "closed" questions. Open questions invite the subject to tell a story or provide an explanation; closed questions elicit yes/no answers and don't stimulate conversation.
  • If you need an answer clarified, be sure to say so. You can do this by reviewing what you know, saying something like, "Let me know if I have this straight..." or by asking for an example or an anecdote.
  • Try to avoid double-barrelled questions, that is, when two questions are asked within the same question. More often than not, only one of the questions will get answered.
  • If the subject wants to tell you something "off the record" be sure to keep it "off the record". This phrase means that what is being told to you is not to be included in the final article.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen.


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Project Co-ordinator: Amy Bowring
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