Okay, so far you've started to root around for secondary literature on your chosen topic. Perhaps you've had some success. Now it's time to prepare to write a longer version on the topic that you analyzed in your preliminary forays (if that's possible). Your goal will be to write a historiographic paper on your chosen artifact or product. A historiographic paper is a discussion of what historians of a particular subject think about it. Such a paper does three things. First, it presents the state of the current discussion, identifying commonalities between what different historians have said and areas where they differ. Next, it provides some criticisms of their assumptions or conclusions. Finally, it suggests directions in which future research might go. Your paper should be 6-8 pages in length, double-spaced, written in 12-pt. Times Roman or Courier font, and properly footnoted.
Now some of you may be wondering what sorts of places you need to look for material. First, make searches in the CU Library online catalog. I recommend keyword searches as these dredge up books you might not find with a subject search. Next, check the three major article data-bases: Academic Search Elite under the EBSCO databases, and WilsonSelect and Humanities Abstracts under First Search. Finally browse through history journals in the CU Library stacks for article titles that seem interesting. This is a good way to locate things that you didn't find because of the limitations of the electronic databases. I found interesting things in the following journals: Journal of Asian Studies and Journal of World History. There will certainly be items in other journals as well. Finally, for those who would like to get a sense for how a particular historian has dealt with different products and their historical meaning, I have put the following book on reserve under History 4963: Fruits of Empire by Walvin. You may find it helpful to consult this book. Good luck!!!