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Using primary sources in PhD research

Rebecca Bowd Portrait
Rebecca Bowden introduces her research.
Register of circulation from LGI
William Hey's casebooks
reading across sources
primary sources in phd research

The material that I used in Special Collections added considerable value to my PhD thesis. Ultimately I changed the layout of the thesis to reflect my findings about the reading experiences of library members. The first half of the thesis considered the reasons for library formation and development in late Georgian Leeds and examined each of the libraries in turn. The second half of the thesis then explored the reading habits of library members and had a strong focus on medical readers; particularly the reading experience of William Hey.

Using diverse sources enabled me to write an information rich thesis in which I was able to engage with libraries and their use at both an institutional and an individual level. Not only did I learn how the Leeds libraries were established and why they were used by their subscribers - I was also able to appreciate the impact of this developing relationship on the wider community of Leeds.