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History 201- Civil War Newspapers Project (Funk)

2. Explore Your Topic

After thoroughly examining your assignment, now it's time to look for some initial background research on your topic.  Try a search in the following database to learn more about your topic.

Analyze Your Topic

Magnifying Glass

Who

Think about who might be involved. This could be specific people, but it could also be groups of people - consider different groups based on age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status (wealth), Northern vs. Southern, who may be affected (good or bad) by your topic. 

What

Consider what factors are involved in your topic. Read some background information or a summary to learn more about your topic, and then make a list of relevant factors.

The background reading can also provide you with keywords, specialized vocabulary, and definitions, which will be useful for future searches.

When

When in the Civil War did your topic take place? Be sure you know what dates and times are involved in your topic because that will affect how you write about them. Your topic may have specific dates associated with it or it may be more general. 

Where

Sometimes places or geography are important to your topic. Where did your topic take place? In the North or in the South?

Why

This is a really important one. Why do people care about this topic? Why is it important or controversial? What's at stake? or Why did it happen / is it happening?