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Interdisciplinary Humanities 240 - The Humanities of Asia: Research Guide

This guide is designed to help students complete the research project for IHum 240, Humanities of Asia.

Getting Started

1.  Choose a topic

This is almost the hardest part of a research project, so you should give it much thought and attention.  Choose a topic that

  • you are interested in
  • fits the subject range of the assignment
  • the library has sufficient information on

2.  Learn about the general topic you have chosen.

You may be tempted to leave out this step, but you will be glad in the long run if you do not.  Learn what others have done before you and benefit from their research instead of trying to do it all yourself.  Learning about the topic in general will help you

  • understand how your specific topic relates to the general area
  • learn what is already known about the subject
  • discover key words and terms
  • learn names of important researchers in the field

3.  Narrow or broaden your topic based on what you have learned.

After you have developed a general understanding of the topic and its context, you will need to refine your topic--narrow or broaden it, depending on what your preliminary research has uncovered.  Ways of refining include

  • chronological 
  • geographical 
  • thematic

Finding Background Material

These are sources you will use to find out general, background information about the topic you have chosen before you begin to refine it.  Sources of background information include

  • prior knowledge -- you have already studied this topic and know something about it
  • encyclopedias --depending on your language abilities, you could use encyclopedias in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean as well as English
  • textbooks -- textbooks are excellent sources of general information on a topic placed in its context

Finding Sources for your Paper

To find what other scholars and researchers have written about your topic, locate books and articles on it.  These are called secondary sources.

To find books, use the main search box on the library home page or the library catalog.

To find articles, use databases that the library has subscribed to.  Recommended databases for Asian Studies are listed under the Articles tab of the Asian Studies Subject Guide.

If you are writing a paper in history or literarture, you will often use primary sources.  For help in finding these, see the Primary Sources tab on the Asian Studies Subject Guide.

Contact Information

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Tim Davis
I am happy to meet with you in person or virtually to help you with any research questions.

Office: 5449 HBLL
Phone: 801-422-4061