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World History and Western Civilization: Preparing a Research Project

Selecting a Topic

Deciding on the right topic for your history research paper takes time. Make sure you have a good understanding of the assignment. Review it carefully. If you're not clear about something or have questions about the assignment, ask your teacher as soon as possible. Next, follow these simple steps: 

  • Scan your textbook or lecture notes to spark ideas.
  • Choose a topic that truly interests you. 
  • Read more about it in your textbook or consult a reference book such as an encyclopedia.The library has some excellent history sources.

Narrowing a Topic

If your topic is too broad, try to focus on a specific aspect. Let's say you would like to write about the black death but don't know where to begin. Break it down into categories, asking the five W’s:

  • Who? Victims regardless of socioeconomic class
  • What? Disease carried by fleas devasted the population of Europe and caused the massive upheaval of society and culture
  • Where? Europe (region), England (country), London (city)
  • When? 1300s or medieval period, specifically 1347-1351
  • Why? Contagion, epidemic, unsanitary conditions, no effective medical treatment

After you have thought through your topic, try phrasing it into a research question: How did the Black Death change Europe's economy? A concise question will help to you to stay focused during your research and can even lead to a solid thesis statement.

Jot down terms or keywords related to your topic. Use the keywords as you search for information. 

  • disease, epidemic, black death, plague, blue sickness
  • consumers, customers, business owners, merchants, employer, peasants, nobility
  • inflation, production, trade, goods, money, economic, sales
  • labor, hours, occupation, trades, work, guild
  • industry, mills, farms, mines
  • city, urban, country, rural, village, estate, land
  • reform, impact, reaction, progress, change, movement, technology, innovation
  • law, legal, act, legislation, government, edict, charter, proclamation

Ask a Librarian

Ask a Librarian

Available 24/7, Ask a Librarian is a place to chat online with a librarian who can help you NOW.

If you have questions or need research assistance, visit the library at any time and talk to one of our knowledgeable librarians!  You can also contact the librarians at Clovis Community College via phone or email for additional reference help. 

Library Hours, Fall 2019 :
Monday-Thursday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

Contact: 559-325-5215