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marchesa

IA topic: Nixon in China

I know I want my topic to be Nixon's trip to China, but I'm having some difficulty formulating a good research question. I'm currently considering:

To what extent was Nixon's 1972 trip to China the result of American efforts?

To what extent did Nixon achieve his goals for his 1972 trip to China?

Or perhaps something focusing on Kissinger's role... I'm not sure. Comments on my ideas so far would be very appreciated (:

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I know I want my topic to be Nixon's trip to China, but I'm having some difficulty formulating a good research question. I'm currently considering:

To what extent was Nixon's 1972 trip to China the result of American efforts?

To what extent did Nixon achieve his goals for his 1972 trip to China?

Or perhaps something focusing on Kissinger's role... I'm not sure. Comments on my ideas so far would be very appreciated (:

The second one doesn't seem very clear. What goals?

Somehow I'm thinking this topic is slightly too broad, because analyzing the American efforts could be very complex. The event itself (Nixon's visit to China) is narrow, but what you would like to analyze within it seems slightly broad. Yet, I could be wrong... just my opinion, wait for a couple more comments. :drake:

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Yeah, I sort of agree with Julie. I think both of the questions need focusing. What kind of sources do you have in mind? That is something to think about a lot when choosing the topic for the IA. Do you have various kinds of sources conveying different things. Don't rest on just secondary accounts of historians. Go for contemporary sources, etc. With the historians you might want to have some controversy. It might be a good idea to read a bit around the topic before sticking to a topic to see what kind of things come up.

The key is to keep your IA focused and try to be original. Kissinger's role might be something to look into, but I recommend something more complex than 'What was Kissinger's role', or 'To what extent Kissinger influenced...' As far as I'm aware he has written his memoirs, that would be one good source. Perhaps go for an assessment of how realistic Kissinger's own view is (compare to some contemporary accounts, and then have works of several historians). You might also want to look at the way in which Nixon tried to benefit from the visit. For example, the way he tried to influence international opinion and draw prestige and perhaps intimidate the Soviets, or did he do it to influence domestic opinion and policies. Personally, I would stick with one of his aims (pre-defined, eg. you don't try to define his aims in your essay, but take on and look at what you can do with it).

The area is not really my piece of cake so forgive me for factual inaccuracy or misconceptions about the topic. I hope you got the general idea.

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Thanks for the feedback guys! The sources I've gotten so far are books (secondary), Kissinger's memoir, the Shanghai Communique, etc. I particularly like the idea of focusing on one of Nixon's aims, I think I'll start with that for now and see where it takes me.

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