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Leading Questions for Researching an Institution

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

May 4, 2013 | Researching Hoosier History, State Historical Marker Application Help |

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 Institution (e.g., school, church)

  • What was the original name of the institution?  Were there changes over time, and if so, what, when, and why?
  • What was the date of the institution’s founding?  Closure?
  • What was the initial reason (political, social, academic) for the establishment of the institution?  Who did it serve?  How and why did it change over time?
  • What are the names of key individuals involved in establishing the institution?  Provide basic biographical information for these individuals.
  • What historical event(s) have occurred at this institution?  Is the institution associated with other specific historical event(s) that give it unusual prominence?
  • What was the cause/purpose of these event(s)?
  • What people, organizations, or other institutions organized or were involved in the event(s)?
  • What was the impact and result(s) of the event(s) on the local community, and at the state, national, or international level?
  • Has any local, state, or federal legislation been generated regarding the event(s) and/or the institution?