What were the conditions under which England sent their countrymen to Australia? How were the native Australians affected by the colonists? What are the main differences between the colonization of Australia and America? How has China come to be one of the major forces in the world? What were the most important events during the Ming Dynasty? How did the Cuban missile crisis affect the world? What positives came out of the Cold War? Could the Cold War be stopped sooner?
What was it like to live in London during the 15th century? What were the top trades to be skilled in during the 17th century in Western society? Explain the violent and bloody history of Jamaica What were the main driving forces behind the Industrial Revolution?
How wide was the reach of the British Empire during its peak? Why did the British Empire collapse? Describe the battle of the seas between England and Spain What were the positives to come out of the French Revolution? What factors led to the French Revolution? What role did Gandhi play in improving world peace?
Which American president improved world peace relations the most? The Stone Age — How did humans survive? What impact did the Stone Age have on mankind and the rest of the world? Confucius — How did Confucius affect the development of Chinese culture and thinking? Trojan War — Was the Trojan War real or fictional? Adolf Hitler — What inspired Hitler to become a dictator? Why did he attempt to exterminate the Jewish race? The Holocaust — How did the Holocaust affect the world?
Use the footnotes and bibliographies of general background books as well as reference aids to lead you to special studies. If Carleton does not have the books or sources you need, try ordering through the library minitex. Many sources are also available on-line. As your research paper takes shape you will find that you need background on people, places, events, etc.
Do not just rely on some general survey for all of your background. Check the several good dictionaries of biography for background on people, or see if there is a standard book-length biography. If you are dealing with a legal matter check into the background of the judges who make the court decision and the circumstances surrounding the original incident or law. Try looking for public opinions in newspapers of the time. In other words, each bit of information you find should open the possibility of other research paths.
Learn to use several research techniques. You cannot count on a good research paper coming from browsing on one shelf at the library. A really pertinent book may be hidden in another section of the library due to classification quirks. The Readers' Guide Ref. R4 is not the only source for magazine articles, nor the card catalog for books. There are whole books which are listings of other books on particular topics.
There are specialized indexes of magazine articles. S62 and the Humanities Index Ref. See also Historical Abstracts Ref. Reference Librarians would love to help you learn to use these research tools. It pays to browse in the reference room at the library and poke into the guides which are on the shelves. It also pays to browse the Internet.
If you do not already have a general background on your topic, get the most recent good general source on the topic and read it for general orientation. On the basis of that reading formulate as clearly focused question as you can. You should generally discuss with your professor at that point whether your question is a feasible one.
Building a Basic Bibliography: If there is a specialized bibliography on your topic, you will certainly want to consult that as well, but these are often a bit dated. Building a Full Bibliography: Read the recent articles or chapters that seem to focus on your topic best. This will allow you to focus your research question quite a bit. Use such tools as Historical Abstracts or, depending on your topic, the abstracts from a different field and a large, convenient computer-based national library catalog e.
For specific article searches "Uncover" press returns for the "open access" or possibly less likely for history "First Search" through "Connect to Other Resources" in MUSE can also be useful. Now do the bulk of your research.
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