IA Topic Guidelines

How to choose a topic:  
- Topic must
    - fit within the context of 20th century world history.
    - be historical (rather than psychological, etc).
    - be narrow (see below for guidance on how to narrow a topic).
    - be original.
-Topic must NOT
    - be focused on U.S. history.
    - examine events prior to 1900 or after 2000.
    - investigate a conspiracy.
    - be similar to a topic under investigation by another classmate.

How to narrow a topic:  

Narrow a topic by conducting more research on it.  A good topic will consist of:

1. who or what,
2. when,
3.  where,
4.  and a level of critical thinking that allows you to examine the topic from multiple perspectives or angles  (in other words, there is debate amongst scholars on the topic,  or varying levels of agreement).  This includes avenues such as the "causes" of something, the "effects" or "impact of something on something else, the "effectiveness" of something, etc.

Here's an example: 

A student's initial area of interest was trench warfare during WWI.  After narrowing the topic, the student's new topic was "The effectiveness of service animals in the trenches of France during WWI."  The "what" is service animals.  The "when" is during WWI.  The "where" is France.  And, the "critical thinking" component is the effectiveness.

 "Stubby."  Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History.  
Accessed 8.30.16 <http://amhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/collection/object.asp?ID=15&ImageID=614&printable=0&back=0>.