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History Research Guide

Researching and Writing

Read then write?

Writing is inseparable from researching. It is wise to start writing earlier rather than later. Writing forces you to organize your information and your thoughts, which generates new ideas. Do not postpone writing until you ‘know everything’, because no one ever reaches that point. You will only find the holes in your research once you start to write.

Only begin writing with most of the information on your topic, and definitely the most relevant information, at hand. As you write, you will likely find that you do not have enough information about a particular aspect of your topic after all. You will regularly have to consult the literature anew; you may even have to return to the library to find additional sources.