Print Project YouTube History-Based Videos

For my print project, I chose to look at seven history-related YouTube Channels and analyze what roles do they play on spreading historical contents to the general public and how do the audience react and interact with these channels.

In terms of the YouTube Channels, I tried to find channels that are already well-established and have a significant amount of viewers. I also wanted to analyze channels that have the element of “living history” or historical reenactment, whether it is personally taking the audience to historical landmarks to recount historical events or dressing in 18th-century clothing and talk about 18th-century fashion history. Therefore, I chose the following seven channels as the main focus of my project: Townsends, Drunk History, Karolina żebrowska, The Crown Eye Production, The History Underground, Bernadette Banner, and the English Heritage.

I watched many of their videos to get a sense how each of the channels are representing history. I researched on the creators of these channels to find out their historical background and their motivation of creating the videos. I also focus a lot at the comment section of the videos. I wanted to see how the audience is reacting to the videos, do they feel that they are learning history? How did they come across the videos? Why they like or dislike learning about history in this format? Do they share their own history knowledge or family history related to the videos? Will they seek for more history-related videos or do more research themselves? Do they care about the accuracy of the history knowledge?

In order to better answer these questions, I chose one video from each channel based on how popular they are and how historical they are, I downloaded the comment section onto Google Sheets and use search functions by entering keywords such as: history, historical, family, accuracy, accurate, interesting, education, educational, informative, fun, etc.

An example of the comment section from a video named “1920s Fashion Is Not What You Think”

I also want to incorporate Voyant Tools to analyze the comment sections, but I am still trying to figure out how the clean up the comments data so that the top results from the program is not words or symbol like “the” or “=”.

3 Replies to “Print Project YouTube History-Based Videos”

  1. Hi Mengshu, Very excited to check out your draft! Overall it sounds like you are on the right track. It looks like the link to your draft that you included is to a local directory on your computer. So could you upload the paper as a media file in word press and add a link to it? Otherwise we aren’t going to be able to access/read it. Thanks!

  2. Very much enjoyed reading your draft paper! I have yet to see anyone really delve into what history content looks like and how it works on YouTube, so you’re working in a space where there is a lot fo potential for novel ideas.

    At this point, you have done a great job at hitting all the fundamental things required for the project. You have a good set of secondary material and scholarship that you situate the project in and you have a rich set of channels that you are analyzing and exploring. So all of that is great. Below are a few considerations to think about as you work through the remainder of the semester.

    – Consider adding in something of your argument or your research question into the title. That is, instead of “YouTube History Channels” it might be “What History is Communicated on Youtube?” Or “How Historical Storytelling Works on Youtube: An Analysis.”

    -Consider adding in subheads that clearly layout the structure of your paper. It would be great to know when we are moving from your into, to your lit review, and then into your analysis section. It would also be great to have some sub heads that help clarify the argument you are making.

    – Consider asserting an explicit thesis statement or a few key research questions to frame your study and then come back to that thesis or set of questions at the end to demonstrate how you have gotten to it.

    – Consider adding in a table of all the channels you looked at and some context on how and why you selected them. Right now it’s not entirely clear to me as a reader why you selected each of these and it would also be great to have an at a glance view of them.

    – Your analysis of the comments on the videos has some great insights in them. It is neat to see how you can explore questions about audience response through them. It would be great to forecast that this is coming up as part of the structure of the paper earlier on so that readers know that you are going to give background on several of the channels and then that you are going to go into analyzing the kinds of things that viewers are responding to on them in the comments.

    – Right now the conclusions are a little thin. It would be great if you could go back to some of the key points that came up from some of your secondary literature up front and tell us how what is happening on YouTube fits with points from that literature on history communications in other media and or the literature that you reference on YouTube in general.

    So those are some things to think about as you keep working on this. Again, really enjoyed reading this and I think you are delving into something that is quite significant and frankly really under explored as a research topic.

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