Biographies – Sample OAQ’s

Review: How to formulate your research questions (OAQ and FQs.)

Samples for SOWH:

Category A:  I already know the interesting person I want to research:

OAQ Example 1: How did Nelson Mandela affect history by bringing social, economic and political change to South Africa?

  • FQ1:  How Nelson affect South Africa’s economy?
  • FQ2:  How did Nelson Mandela change the government and rights people enjoy in South Africa?
  • FQ3:  How did Nelson Mandela bring changes to society by affecting norms of behavior, lifestyles and relationships between people in South Africa?

(Notice that FQ3 is made much more specific because I looked up “social structure” at the ESPRAT+G site!)

OAQ Example 2:  How did Rosa Parks re-shape the Civil Rights movement?  (You only need 3 focus questions, but here are MANY examples!)

  • FQ1:  How were African Americans treated in her time?
  • FQ2:  Why did Rosa take the action she did?
  • FQ3:  Which obstacles were the hardest ones for Rosa to overcome in her life?
  • FQ4:  How did Rosa Parks provide inspiration to other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement?
  • FQ5:  Which traits did Rosa demonstrate that best enabled her success?
  • FQ6:  Why does Rosa stand out even as many others also served this historical progress?  What was special about Rosa?
  • FQ7:  How did Rosa’s contribution bring social change?
  • FQ7:  How did Rosa affect… (any category of ESPRAT+G?)

Category B:  I haven’t picked my person, but I know I’m really curious about a particular TOPIC and how it has evolved in history.

For example, you may be dying to know how women struggled to get more rights in history.  Search “Women’s Suffrage” in the GALE WORLD HISTORY IN CONTEXT database to learn:

  • Step 1:  Which key leaders stand out?
  • Step 2:  Which obstacles intrigue you the most?
  • Step 3:  Which period of historical change (century or decade), or pivotal event most grabs you interest?

Reflect… then apply the advice in “category A” at the top of this screen.

WARNING: A topic that is too broad will take too long to research with the detail necessary to show advanced work.

Use ESPRAT categories to narrow your topic. Focus on a particular event, time period to narrow the focus of your project.