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Need help with Mafia topic

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Hi guys! I'm trying to write my EE in history and my research question is due next week. I know I want to write my EE about the Italian Mafia, but I don't know how to word a research question. A research question I was thinking about was: 

"How did the Italian Mafia influence West Virginia Primary in May 1960, effectively winning JFK the Democratic Primary?

I'm not sure if it's good enough though. How can I improve this RQ? 


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I really like your unique topic, and I think it's promising. I do however, suspect that you might need to alter your research question a bit before your submit it and get into the nitty gritty. The issue is that—and please correct me if I'm wrong because I am not at all familiar with this aspect of history—is setting you up for a recap/summary of historical events. That is not a good recipe for an EE. Ideally, an EE thesis can be debated and might be controversial (without being ridiculous or tinfoil-hat history). Your research question seems like its just going to lead you to tell us what the Mafia did. How did they do it? Well they had a guy... who knew a guy... who rigged the election... so on; so forth. All of this may be true, but IB are specific in demanding that they want historical analysis. You need to go beyond just stating the "facts" and put forth some assertions. I absolutely think you can do an EE on this, you just need to tweak your question. Good luck.

P.s. When I said correct me if I'm wrong, I sincerely mean it. For example, if historians debate the presence or influence of the Mafia in the election, then your question is absolutely valid. But if nobody debates ad everybody sort of agrees, "Hey, the mafia won JFK the Dem. Primary of '63", then you'll want to tweak your question to make a more debatable assertion. You kind of need to manufacture some resistance here. In my EE I had to do the same thing. It's not a bad thing; rather than proving a far-fetched conspiracy theory, it signals that your thesis is probably true.  

Edited by Nomenclature

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