Once you have a general topic in mind, your next step involves doing some background research. Secondary sources, such as encyclopaedias, books, periodicals, and journal entries, should be your starting point. Gain knowledge about your subject by reading what other researchers and scholars have written. This information will give you a framework in which to assess the value and usefulness of primary sources, and see how these records might be used to support your research assignment.
While reading these secondary sources note important themes, subjects, names, dates, and locations. This information will help you when it comes to doing research in the Archives. Also, pay attention to the writer's footnotes, citations, and bibliography. These provide useful information about the types of sources the author used while doing their research.