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History: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What type of paper is this? Informative? Argumentative? Research? Creative?
  • What question are you trying to answer?
  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching

  • What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
  • What are the keywordsin your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "Lunch counter protests pressured business owners to change racist policies."
    Example Keywords: "Lunch counter", Protests, Racist, Policies
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Lunch counter": restaurant, diner
    Example 2, Keyword "Protests": demonstrations (wider term), sit-ins (more specific term)

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