The Mead Project is a comprehensive collection of primary source material (along with context-based notes) highlighting the work, theories and ideas of George Herbert Mead and related scholars. Specifically, the project's goal "is to revitalize research on George Herbert Mead's work by facilitating access to his publications and to those of numerous social scientists of his day." The collection contains links to books, journal articles, magazine articles, and newspaper articles that would be of benefit to faculty members, researchers, and students who are interested in deepening their comprehension of the work of Mead and "the Meadians."
Type of Material:
Collection of primary source material (document repository)
Information on this site can be used to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of Mead's work and ideas. The collection serves as a comprehensive source of reference material on the work of George Herbert Mead as well as the work of prominent "Meadians" such as Floyd Allport, L. L. Bernard, Herbert Blumer, Emory S. Bogardus, Ellsworth Faris, Jacob Kantor, W. I. Thomas, Louis Thurstone and Kimball Young.
A basic web browser is required. This review was accomplished with Mozilla Firefox 16.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
• To provide readers with primary source material that is not tainted by secondary interpretations.
• To deepen comprehension of the work of George Herbert Mead.
Target Student Population:
• A general education college student population; would also be useful in psychology/sociology courses to gain greater depth of understanding of target course concepts.
• Graduate students in psychology or sociology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
While prerequisites are not strictly required, prior familiarity with George Herbert Mead (or that of his followers and subsequent scholars) is required to locate and receive the maximum benefit from reading the materials. Prior coursework in psychology, sociology, and statistics would be beneficial as well.
Evaluation and Observation
• The collection provides access to primary source work; it expands on the value of source work via the addition of context notes that aid students in appreciating the meaning of theories within the larger societal context in which they emerged.
• The project aims to present an exhaustive inventory of relevant publications, thus ensuring enormous breadth.
The site has not been updated since 2007, and the homepage suggests that certain areas of the collection may not yet be complete (e.g., an expanded focus on "the Meadians").
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
• The site provides primary source material that is not biased by interpretations of other readers, and it is comprehensive in its coverage of the work of Mead and related scholars.
• Each material is associated with Editors' Notes that provide context.
• Each material is linked to related documents, which serves as a helpful research tool.
• Without the aid of an instructor, the information on the site is not presented in a manner that would be easily understood by the target population. To maximize the value of the site, one would need guidance and direction from a relevant topic expert.
• The voluminous nature of the collection and the ability to search chiefly by an alphabetical listing of authors means that the site is most useful for someone who is seeking a particular article (i.e., the site is not built for general searching around subject matter themes).
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
• Every material in the collection is associated with a complete reference.
• Material is listed in alphabetical order; one can jump to material listings via author last name or a Google search.
• A random review of hyperlinks found them all functioning.
• It is difficult to find the purpose of the site from the main home page. Much of the information contained on the main pages of the site assumes that users have an understanding of past versions of the site.
• The site is organized to be accessible by those who are already quite familiar with the material and lacks necessary guidance for novice viewers.
• An alphabet bar (for alphabetized references) serves as the only navigational device. The addition of an organizing structure to move from resource to resource would greatly improve usability.
Other Issues and Comments:
The site contains excellent source information for those interested in Mead and related scholars; the downside is that it is difficult to navigate through the material to find the target resources.