What is your topic?
What is your question?
What is your thesis? (not the same as your topic)
What are your topic's temporal boundaries (date range)?
What is the name of your topic's watershed?
What are its watershed's geographic boundaries? (NB: geographic, not political) If it is easier to draw the boundaries on a map, please do so.
If in Washington state, which sheet(s) ("quad") of the USGS topographic maps does your topic fall on?
Using the UW catalog, determine the three most appropriate LC subject
headings for your topic.
What keyword strings in the UW catalog return between 10 and 100 book titles? (Be precise and include the Boolean operators you are using. If you don't know what a Boolean operator is, see the HELP documentation for the particular db you are using.)
Which four article databases are the most useful?
What keyword strings are you using to search those four article databases?
Which journal titles or authors are beginning to recur?
Will newspaper articles be of use to your project?
Which indices do you still need to check?
Which newspapers return the greatest number of articles?
Which printed reference works will be most useful to you?
After you have done all of the above, are there any *.edu; *.gov; or *.org web sites that have trustworthy and useful information for your project?
Hint: The course web page at http://courses.washington.edu/tande/hg/ has some starting points for this research as does my page at http://courses.washington.edu/tande/hg/web_tools.htm