Research Topic



SKILLS of the historian


Example of an OUTLINE PLAN (With the kind permission of Alarnagh Barrett-Mc Ginley)

Define and justify:In this research topic I intend to examine the Kindertransports from 1938-1939. The Kindertransports was the evacuation of around 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and Nazi occupied territories to Britain.This topic interests me because it deals with people of my own age. I have also read fiction books about the Kindertransports which made me curious about this subject. I believe this topic is of historical importance because the lives of 10,000 children were saved who would otherwise have joined the 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust.My aims: I hope to gain a good understanding of who organised the kindertransports, why the children left, what happened to them during the transports and what life was like for them in their new homes. I hope that during my research I will gain skills such as how to locate good information, summarize and take notes.  My Intended Approach: I will begin my research by reading general accounts of the transports. I will then proceed to read about the experiences of specific people during the kinder-transports . I will search for organisations with links to the kinder-transports to see if they will provide me with more information. I will read carefully and take detailed notes.

The main sources I will use are as follows:

Source 1 – “The children who cheated the Nazi’s”; Directed by Sue Reed, Golden Reed productions, narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough. BBC production 2001

Source 2 – “Into the arms of strangers”, by Mark Harris, Bloomsbury Publishers, London, 2001

Source 3 – “And the policeman smiled”, by Barry Turner, Guild Publishing, London, 1990


Example of an OUTLINE PLAN (With the kind permission of Stephen M)

Define and justify: My project is on the construction and importance of the Pont du Gard aqueduct built by the Romans in the South of France during the 1st century. This topic is historically important because it was the highest aqueduct bridge in the Roman world. It is also important because the Roman builders were the first to use lime mortar. Lastly, it is important because of the amount of water it supplied to the nearby city of Nimes. My aims: My first aim is to find out exactly how the aqueduct was constructed. I also aim to find out why the aqueduct was of such importance for the Romans in the area. Lastly, I hope to develop my skills as an historian by carrying out my own research, taking down information and writing my extended essay. My Intended Approach: First, I will use the internet to get basic information on the importance of the Roman world. Then I will visit the Pont du Gard aqueduct and the museum at the site in the South of France. I also intend to purchase books on this particular topic, watch an online documentary and take notes from all my sources. As a result of all of this, I hope to improve my research and writing skills and that I will find good quality information for my project. The three main sources that I will use are as follows:

  1. Museum of the Pont du Gard, La Begude, 30201 Vers Pont du Gard (I visited the site on July 3rd 2014)
  2. The Roman remains of Southern France, James Bromwich, Routledge Publishers, London 2003
  3. (I first used this website on August 10th, 2014)


Example of an EVALUATION OF SOURCES (Thanks to Patrick Moss)

Source 1 – This book is a specialist secondary source. It was written by three historians and is a result of 25 years of research making it very reliable. It contained many first-hand interviews and diary entries of different tunellers and this made the reading experience very enjoyable. There were many photographs, maps and graphs and this made it very clear and easy to understand. For example on pages 82-83 there is a large detailed diagram of the complex structure of a typical tunnel. The book also gave me a complete picture of my topic as it included all the major events that I  had planned to study and therefore it became my main source. It was really well written and laid out and each section was put under a specific heading. It was a well balanced account as it included both German and British accounts of life in the tunnels.

Source 2 – This is a primary source and was written in honour of the authors tunelling comrades. Grieve who spent three years underground writes from his own experience. His book pays particular attention to technical detail and is not really suitable for anyone without a basic grasp of mining methods and terminology. However it did help me to understand key techniques and the early days of mining and it contained a very useful index. As it was so detailed I had to read most of it in order not to miss anything and this was time consuming. Also it was first written in 1936 which made the writing style difficult to read at times.

Source 3 – This book by Max Arthur who is a military historian is a compilation of WWI memoirs which offer a good picture of the scale of human struggle during the conflict of 1914-18. He has assembled hundreds of excerpts from the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum making the book a a great collection of primary source material. This book focuses mainly on life on the western front sector and often refers to the tunellers. it did provide me with sufficient knowledge of the environment of life in the trenches surrounding the tunellers. I didn’t find this source of major use and it was the least relevant of my sources.


Example of an EVALUATION OF SOURCES (Thanks to Una)

Source 1: This radio podcast was a primary source that I used and consisted of unique interviews with three people who were hired at the Strabane Hiring Fair during the 1920’s and 1930’s. By listening to the interviews I obtained first hand information from their detailed accounts of what the hiring fair experience was like. For example I found Paddy Mc Glynn’s description of the work they had to do shocking such as feeding the horses no matter what the weather was like. The personal descriptions of the hiring fair was very useful to me and gave me a real understanding of what it was really like for young people at the time. As all three people were directly involved this podcast became my main source. Source 2: This secondary source is a biography written by John Throne about his grandmother. This was another unique story and the book provided me with great information about the harsh realities of the experience of young people, especially young girls who sometimes were victims of physical and sexual abuse. The book gave me another perspective on an aspect of the hiring fairs that was not talked about in the past and this book deepened my understanding of the topic. Source 3: This memoir was extremely informative and useful to me for my project. it gave me a detailed insight into the social conditions of people living in west Donegal in the early 1900’s. The book had lots of old photographs such as the one on page 26 of people trying to farm in very difficult circumstances. The book provided me with very detailed knowledge of the area of west Donegal and it helped me to understand more clearly why young people had no option but to leave home and go to the hiring fairs. The book also provided me with maps and photographs of the actual hiring fairs which was also useful.





UNIT 731



10 American States With the Most Lynchings of Black People From 1882-1968



















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