Hello. Obviously I assume that people here have much more experience than I do writing research on herbalism.
some three or so years ago my first attempts to research and write on aviculture were on the herbalism topic of "what did parrots eat in period," approaching it by looking at both what we feed them now, what is and is not poisonous to companion parrots and finches, and what was available in period by geography. I included information on both Europe and Asia and remain the only member of my aviculture guild who even looks at what the Indians, Chinese, Jurchens, and so forth did in the East.
The last time I entered my paper, I received the harsh, but helpful criticism that I had not tied it to period very well--the data was excellent, but for all my information on where each plant originates and how it relates to diet and nutrition, the result had little to do with MEDIEVAL herbalism or aviculture. I had no period sources cited--only a lot of very good modern ones.
In my latest project, I was able to overcome my previous issue--I located period illuminations and museum artefacts for most of my points in my paper and cited some good period sources.
But how do you show that almonds were grown in both Europe and Asia? Or that Scots and not Italians, ate oats?
How do I show that strawberries come from Italy and were not available in the rest of Europe until the Renaissance (I think that came from wikipedia...don't kill me for admitting it!) and therefore were not available in China?
And what about the fine varietals of grains that are so important to raising an animal but may not be so important to people? An aviculturist cares whether white millet has 10% protein and red millet has 7% protein as these are values used to judge relative nutrition from one food to another. But someone outside of that system relates far less to it. Red or white does not matter for them--a millet is a millet, even if the consequence for feeding may be considerable.
At many points my paper reads more like data than a paper. It has an introduction and conclusion, but is largely just data.
I want to take that A&S judge's suggestion serious and transform my food paper into a piece of solid period herbalism as it applies to the practical feeding and nutrition of parrots. How do I do it?
I have not see a really good herbalism research paper before. Just bibliography source pages.
I'm asking very humbly today. i really enjoy learning from this guild. I want to do better than I have in the past.