After developing a research question, the historian must think critically about his or her research goals. This is not to say that the historian should firmly hold on to a preconceived answer to a research question; such an approach could lead the historian to ignore vital information that points to a conclusion that is different from the one imagined at the onset of the research project. Instead, the historian must be mindful of the various answers that the research question might produce. The historian must also be prepared to separate the events of the past from the cultural expectations, attitudes, and values of the present, while still remembering that some shared experiences with the past remain. In other words, the historian must be prepared to place questions of â€œwho,â€ â€œwhat,â€ â€œwhen,â€ â€œwhere,â€ and â€œwhyâ€ in the proper context. Research requires mental preparation on the part of the historian. The nature of the historianâ€™s work also requires that he or she track down numerous primary and secondary sources. Sources are sometimes spread across multiple locations, and the historian must often find sources in a set amount of time. Additionally, a budget can also affect a project, as financial constraints can tighten the geographic area in which a researcher can feasibly travel. As such, the best approach to gathering the needed sources in a financially viable and set amount of time is to develop a research plan. The historian must examine personal holdings to see what information he or she already possesses and determine what types of sources need to be found. In order to do this, the historian might search through books and journal articles found in the local library. By paying attention to the sources used in other texts, the historian can learn where to look for other primary and secondary sources. The historian might also run a preliminary internet search related to the research question. Consulting immediate sources can lead the historian to repositories that hold vital information and that are worth the effort to explore.
For your initial post, organize your revised research questions, current thesis statement, and an outline or checklist of your plan for conducting further research on your topic into a new discussion post. In a few paragraphs, discuss what relevant sources you have identified and the process for accessing those sources.
When responding to your peers, critique their plan and offer suggestions for thinking like a historian. Does their plan suggest that they are thinking about change over time, context, causality, complexity, and contingency?
To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.