Skip to Main Content

Reproductive Rights Classroom Exercise: Outline

Reproductive Rights Classroom Exercise: Outline

Women holding pro-choice signs at rally in response to the Supreme Court ruling Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Atlanta, Georgia, July 3, 1989.Outline


  1) Put students into small groups or pairs, depending on the size of the class. If the class is small, students can also work individually, but be sure to allow enough time for discussion if students are working individually.


2) Brief review of what archival research is and the role played by finding aids. This can be tailored to the needs of the class session, and will vary according to what the instructor’s learning objectives are. Is this a “lab” class where the students are meant to learn about archival research/objects in general, is it a class where elements of the materials’ content relate to the content of the course more broadly, or a combination of these?

3) Distribute copies of finding aids and instruct students to pay particular attention to organization histories, list of series, scope notes, and pages of finding aids with selected items highlighted. Distribute call slips. Explain what information from the finding aid is needed to fill out the call slip, and have each group/pair/individual call up the items highlighted. Encourage awareness of surrounding materials, headings, etc. What series are these materials housed in? What is the title of the collection? Instructor and librarian can float and assist students with call slips and identifying series information etc.

4) Once the students have materials, distribute worksheets. Encourage discussion among group members (15-20 minutes?) as they fill out the worksheets.

5) After worksheets are filled out, hold a broader discussion where groups present on their particular organizations’ materials. If they’re reluctant to talk, use the prompts from the worksheet – presumably they have things already written down that they can read from if they’re uncomfortable speaking.

6) Once each pro-choice group has presented, ask students (whole class) to discuss these findings and to compare findings on the different groups: how were they similar? How were they different? What might draw someone to this organization? What might draw someone to a different organization instead?

7) Then have the same discussion about the “anti” groups.

8) “Anti” groups get another question then: what was the name of the collection these materials were in? What was the series name? Following the answer: why are these materials included in the pro-choice collections? Did they represent a pro-choice position? Why would pro-choice organizations have included them in their materials?

9) A question for the archivist then: do we have any anti-abortion/pro-life collections in GSU’s Special Collections? Why might we have such collections in our Special Collections? Why might we not?

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Oral Histories at GSU

Archives for Research on Women and Gender

Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives

Lucy Hargrett Draper Collections on Women's Rights, Advocacy, and the Law

Phone: (404) 413-2880
Fax: (404) 413-2881

Mailing Address:
Special Collections & Archives
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur Street, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

In Person:
Library South, 8th floor

Employee Directory