Getting down to business!

For my previous three research projects (‘The search for a new national identity: A comparative study of the rise of multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s-1970s’, ‘Australia in War and Peace, 1914-1919’, and ‘The end of the British World and the redefinition of citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand, 1950s-1970s’) I have always started by carrying out secondary research on my subject, going through sources that I collect, and making notes. I find this useful in various ways. Firstly, it is of course good to know the existing historiography on my subject in more detail than putting my research proposal together allowed. Secondly, I always find it interesting to see the different approaches fellow scholars undertake towards their own research. Thirdly, I find the primary sources that they might have used a useful starting point for my own primary research for my project. And fourthly, I add any secondary sources that they consulted relevant to my research project to my own list of articles, book chapters, and books to have a look at. Conducting secondary research for your project is of course a constant process, as there are new things being written all the time, and you come across them and other previously published sources in the course of the research process. All of the above illustrates the importance of carrying out secondary research for a historical project. Quite often historians emphasise primary research, which is of course crucial. But the importance of secondary research should not be underestimated! I am very excited to be moving my new research project forward 🙂

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