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Consider primary and secondary sources while you choose your topic
Before you finalize your choice of topic, be sure there are adequate sources readily available. If you choose something too esoteric, you may find that all the sources are in a language other than English, or they aren't readily available in the United States, or there just aren't any.
- Are there ancient texts and early American texts on your topic? You need primary sources.
- Are there modern books and articles that discuss the ancient texts and the early American texts or authors? You need some historiography.
- Are there books and scholarly articles (secondary sources) on your topic?
- Are there archaeological excavation reports that give information and perhaps show pictures of objects related to your topic? Are there images and artistic or historical analysis of related American objects?
- Are there art works on tombs, buildings, vases, or elsewhere that illustrate aspects of your topic? You may need to look for museum catalogs or books of art history to find examples of art or objects that relate to any topic.
Find Primary and Secondary Sources