Sometimes, a structured approach to research can help to organize ideas and the way you think about information sources:
1. Explore topic basics (casual web searching and reference resources)
2. Background/history (library catalog and guides)
3. Current research (library databases: journal articles)
4. Support your argument (source citation)
5. Drafts & revisions (research librarians & learning commons)
HIST 400 requires that you make significant use of core primary sources. Therefore, it is useful to also factor in what sources you have access to and how they might guide you in your research. You may need to shift your focus as you delve deeper into your topic and find available sources.
- Is your selected topic one that has readily available primary sources? If not, is there a way you might think creatively about your topic? For example, studying U.S. reactions to a historical event in a non-English speaking country (using U.S. based correspondence, newspaper accounts, etc.) or government policies relating to your subject (using more readily available government documents).
- Are the sources you wish to use ones that you are able to fully study in the time you have to complete your research?
- Consider various types of sources. Depending upon your particular topic, you may find oral histories, films, artifacts, photographs and other non-text sources worthy of close study.