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Leading Questions for Researching an Organization

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 Organization (e.g., religious or non-profit)

  • What was the original name of the organization?  Were there name changes over time, and if so, what, when, and why?
  • What was the date of the founding agreement? What was the date the organization dissolved (if applicable)?
  • Were there major changes over the life of the organization? When and why did changes occur?
  • What were the names of the founders and key leaders? Why were they involved in the organization? What were their responsibilities or obligations?
  • What was the initial reason for the formation of the organization? What were its goals? How did these goals change over time? How did the organization succeed or fail in achieving them?
  • What was the original location of the organization? Did that location change? When, where, and why? What were the dates of construction of the structure(s) used by the organization?
  • What social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, etc., impact did the organization have at the local, state, and/or national level? How did that change over time?
  • What was the relationship between this organization and other similar groups?  How is this organization different?  Was the organization a part of a national umbrella organization?
  • What was happening at the state or national level that affected the organization or influenced its founding, changes over time, or dissolution? What was the organization’s impact on Indiana and/or the country?