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Leading Questions for Researching an Event

The following is an archived post from the IHB blog Marking Hoosier History.

Leading Questions is a series provided to help researchers get started.  The questions below are intended to be broadly applicable for use by researchers at any level of experience.  If you are an applicant for an Indiana State Historical Marker, answer these questions using primary sources to support your findings; you should then have a very strong application! Keep in mind that several Leading Questions issues may be applicable to your marker topic. 

Not sure where to find the answers to these questions?  Start with the Research Checklist IHB uses when beginning a research project, and try to visit these local resources.  No matter where you find the answers, be sure to keep track of what you found and where you found it with citations! Also keep track of sources that did not prove helpful at the time; it can save time later as your research proceeds.

Leading Questions for Researching an Event

  • What kind of event was it – celebratory, natural disaster, discovery, etc.?
  • What was/were the date(s) of the event?
  • What was the name of the event when it occurred?  Did the name change over time?  Why and when?
  • Where did the event occur, or where was it held?  Why did it occur there, or why was it held there?  (Provide context and information about the town, structure, public place, etc. involved in order to set the scene for the event.)
  • What was the cause/purpose of the event?  What activities, beliefs, actions, or natural causes led to the event?
  • What people, organization(s), or institution(s) organized, were involved, or were affected by the event?
  • What was the impact and result(s) of the event on the local community, and at the state, national, or international level?
  • How did the event demonstrate or contribute to the rich social, cultural, environmental, and/or economic history of Indiana?