Research the background

Once a topic has been decided it is essential to do background research on it to gain an understanding about the facts – using words like who; what; where; when and how. This research will inform the type of questions asked or explored in the main part of the investigation. The main source of background information will be textbooks, classroom discussion, internet research and a possible trip to a library or heritage organisation to use their resources.

Ireland's rich heritage preserved in every county

Local Knowledge & Public Resources will help identify sources

Background research will be mostly non-oral and will rely on secondary source material. By visiting public archives, libraries and museums (see map on right), students can gather information on their topics of choice. This information may provide insight into people they should talk to, questions that have been left unanswered or send them in directions they had not expected.

Many of the listed inistitutions also provide online access to archives, so a trip may not be necessary. For example, Military Archives provides a wealth of finding aids and information on people in the military over the years.

The secondary material gathered can be presented to the class, and through discussion, the shape of the interviews, and primary research questions that need to be asked will evolve. By discussing the material at home, leads may emerge as to who should be interviewed as part of the primary research.

As well as the map, useful links are listed below