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emmiez

What are some approaches to researching for history?

I'm currently doing my History EE and I'm finding a hard time to gather information. My topic is "To what extent is immigration the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire" - there are SO many books to sift through and all the books are incredibly long...

I was wondering if anyone have any tips on doing research? What's the best way that's, if possible, not as time-consuming?

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I used J-STOR, which allows you to search entire databases of files (like Google does). I was able to use it because my school paid for it to be added to our network server in school, and your school may not have it. I still had to do a lot of sifting through articles, even though I didn't do a History EE (but I did write a Historical Investigation). Fortunately my topic was narrow enough that there weren't thousands of resources.

Do you have a few main books that you are using for your EE? I would concentrate on using those, since there's no way that you can use read through loads of books and use all of them. You can use quotes and smaller ideas from other books, and the Internet too.

Unfortunately there's not really a way of getting around reading textbooks and sources, which is why you have to start early and make notes as you go (with page numbers) so you don't forget where important sources are. You could try skim reading but you may miss out important information.

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hmm Ancient History yes? my teachers discouraged me from writing my EE on ancient history.

well anyway, go to your school library first and then try to use encyclopedias or online article sources paid by the school. then go to google and just try to type in the name of historians. Go on amazon type in keywords and just start ordering the books you think are relevant.

good luck :P

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My EE title is "To what extent is immigration the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire"

Personally, I love the topic of the Roman Empire, but it is actually a topic I have never learnt at school before and quite frankly am a little clueless about. I have lots and lots of reading to do, but all the books are ENORMOUS with a LOT of information - much more than what I really need for my essay.

I'm unsure about how to research.. should I just read all of the books? What would be the best way to get the information I need from the books?

Also.... if anyone is familiar with this topic... suggestions? advice? opinions?

Thanks :P

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Read at least one or two of the more general books. Then start compiling your ideas. After that you can start having a look at the more specific books. When you've read something more general it might help you because you would have some idea what you want to focus on and what you're looking for from the books meaning you don't have to read it completely.

I suggest you taking a look at "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbons, you should find the six volumes of it in a properly equipped library. While it is rather old (written in the 18th century) and enormous, you should at least take a look at it and refer to it in some way in your EE since it is pretty much THE defining classic on your particular field. Just read the introduction of it, or something to get an idea. Also you should get the idea of his interpretation of how the Roman Empire got to fall, etc.

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One thing, the teachers at my school all discouraged me from doing any Ancient History topics including the Roman Empire because there aren't that many resources apparently...

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You can do ancient history if you can get enough sources.

Firstly, your topic. Do you have any evidence at the moment to suggest that immigration was a cause of the fall of the Roman Empire?

You mentioned you know little about it, so it may be a good idea, as Scade said to read more general books about the fall of the Roman Empire, and pick out what the major causes are and work from there.

You don't have to read every single word of every single book you find. Skim through chapter titles and see which are relevant to your topic. For each chapter, skim read first and then if you find something interesting, look further. History books hopefully should have references, you could also look at their bibliography and research into those sources.

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