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Using and Accessing Primary Sources

Your topic

  • Don’t be too specific
  • Keep this in mind for your working hypothesis:
    • broad enough to promise a variety of resources
    • narrow enough for you to research in depth 
    • original enough to interest you and your readers
    • worthwhile enough to offer information and insights of substance
    • "do-able", meaning sources are available to complete your research (in the time allotted to you)
  • Revise your focus as you work 
  • Expand the scope as you search back – if you aren’t finding relevant materials.
  • Don’t commit too soon to any one hypothesis. Use it as a first step that will take you to new information that may inspire you to revise. Be flexible. 
  • Give yourself time to explore possibilities.
  • It is more a spiraling or iterative activity than a linear one.