New Series: Works in Progress


In honor of our upcoming 5 year anniversary, the Historical Cooking Project is pleased to announce the start of a new special series.

The Historical Cooking Project has consistently featured the work of scholars, archivists, and researchers at various stages in their careers.

As Editor-in-Chief and a writer for the site, I have used the HCP as a space to explore side projects, experiment with ideas, and connect with other researchers.

In order to encourage other scholars to share their less developed projects, we are launching the "Works in Progress" series. We hope authors can share their work, offer questions to readers, and engage with food history in meaningful ways.

As previous contributors and readers of the blog know, the HCP publishes works of varying lengths and formats. However, this special series will have a set format to provide consistency for writers and readers.

Posts must relate to food history or food studies. They must be written in English by scholars (grad students, professors, or independent researchers with an academic background), archivists, digital humanities and information studies professionals, or librarians.

Posts must be formatted in the order and style as explained below. Please bold each section headings of your submission.

Format of submissions:

• Research Aim and Project Description (1-3 paragraphs)
• Research Objectives/Questions (75 -150 words)
• Literature review
• Methodology (1-3 paragraphs)
• Initial Findings (1-3 paragraphs)
• Questions: you would like the HCP community to respond to
• Name and title, Bio (50-150 words), and author photo
• Your social media handles (so that the HCP community can respond via Twitter, in the comments, etc)
• Photos related to the research (optional) with source information

* Do not hyperlink your text, rather paste the full url that you are linking to within parentheses

Please email with the subject line "HCP Works in Progress."


Further details:

What is the broad topic you are interested in? What problem do you want to investigate?
This is your research aim. Focus on a significant problem, issue, controversy or contradiction.
Tip on coming up with a good research aim: Ask the ‘journalistic’ questions (who, what, when,
where, why) about your topic until you get down to a single question that is both specific and

Identify at least three general objectives for your research and list them as bullet points.
Objectives explain the way research aims are answered, and establishes parameters, or limits on
the research. They are headed by infinitive verbs, such as:
To identify
To establish
To describe
To determine
To collect
To develop
To compare
To analyse
It is important to identify these specific research goals at the outset, or you might waste time
collecting irrelevant or unnecessary research data.

Lit review
The literature review situates your own research question in the context and state of research in
your topic area. You will need to address both the broad area of concern here (keep this brief),
and the specific area or focus that you are taking. The literature review begins to answer the
question “Why is your research necessary and important?” Give a sense of what work has
already been done in the topic, who are the key scholars in the area, and what are the current
trends or state of research. Identify gaps in research. Make a case for why your contribution is
both interesting and necessary. Keep this section grounded clearly in the literature, identifying
and citing authoritative sources. You want to make sure your work does not replicate another
research project, but rather builds on and adds to the discourse. Be sure to record and report on
the details of your literature search. (What key words did you use? What sites or databases did
you search? What volume of research did you find? How did you make selections of what is
relevant to your project?)

Research Methods 
Outline and provide a rational for your approach in terms of methodology and research methods.
To make these decisions, think about how your specific approach is situated in the theoretical
debates that have taken place.

Initial Findings 
What have you already found in your research? What else do you need to explore?

List any questions you have for the HCP community in bullet point form. Do you need help finding out about a specific topic? Looking for more information about a specific literature (perhaps your background is in medieval food studies but your new project also looks at the Renaissance period and you need help finding sources)? Looking for recommendations for archival sources-- here is the place to ask!