Developing a Research Question or Thesis:
Questions to consider while doing your research:
What types of sources will you need?
Ex. Articles from library databases? Newspapers? Online articles? eBooks? Print? Newsreels? Images? Oral history? Reports? Government publications? Websites?
Ex. Primary sources? Secondary sources? Tertiary sources?
How will you search for these sources?
Ex. What is your search strategy? Concepts and keywords?
Search Strategies: using keywords, synonyms / related concepts and truncation:
Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research. You can start by taking keywords from your thesis statement.
There are other ways to develop additional keywords.
1. Use synonyms and related concepts:
Think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. It can help to brainstorm before you begin your search.
Look at the subject terms in your search results and see if you can use any of those.
2. Use truncation:
You can broaden your search results by typing an asterisk symbol * at end of the root of a word. When you do this, the computer will search for alternative endings for the word you have typed.
For example, typing activi* will yield results for:
Activist(s) activism activity active
Typing 196* or 196*0s will yield results for
All the years of the 1960s
3. Create parameters
Limit your topic to a specific time period or geographical region.
Ex. Germany in the 1930s
4. Refine your topic
Start with a broad topic and narrow it down by thinking of some of the issues associated with it.
Ex. Broad topic: Vietnam War
Narrowed topics: Ho Chi Min Trail, Laos, North Vietnamese Army, Viet Minh
Thesis: The use of the Ho Chi Min Trail through Laos by the Viet Minh made it impossible for the United States to win the Vietnam War.