Choosing a Topic Worksheet

Choosing a topic for any paper is a process. Completing each of the following steps (in any order), should help you choose a topic that is appropriate for the assignment.

A. Briefly describe the library research that you did towards choosing a topic. Include at least two reference books that you used and three library card catalog subject headings that you found useful.

For my topic I have found two great books to use as primary sources. I plan on comparing the opinions of David Walker and Olaudah Equiano. I also may drop Walker and compare Equiano with Frederick Douglass because they were both African American abolitionists. But I’m still playing with that idea. David Walker’s is an appeal to the “colored citizens of the world” regarding their circumstances and it was written in the 1800s. Then I also plan to use Equiano’s autobiography that he wrote in 1789. Three library card catalog subject headings that I found useful were: under basic search I found a lot simply under their first and last names, under subject headings I found “Abolitionists – Correspondence” and “Abolitionists – America.”

B. Briefly describe the internet research that you did. What words did you google successfully? Name at least one useful website. Do not include web based library card catalogs in this section.

For internet research I was able to find a good deal on both Equiano and Walker by typing their names into google. I also tried typing both their names in and some interesting things came up. One of the links discussed how Equiano identified with black slaves before David Walker. One useful website was: And it really lays out what Walker talks about and what his goal and impact was. This was another great website/article I found online: This article compares different views of African American abolitionists such as Equiano and Frederick Douglass.

C. You should talk to at least one member of this history department about your topic, or at least an expert in your field. Name that expert and briefly describe his/her comments.

I met with Dr. Ferrell. She gave me some key insights as to how these two abolitionists can be compared and contrasted. Equiano introduced his writings before Walker and while they both stand against slavery, they have different approaches to doing it.

D. You must have a primary source for this paper. Provide any pertinent information on that primary source including website and/or call number

See A. Call numbers are: E446. W177 2000

E. Are enough secondary sources available on this topic? Tell me a bit about what you found.

Secondary sources are abundant as far as finding things about either one of these abolitionists. There is a lot that is on both Walker and Equiano individually, and I found a book about abolitionists of the North, but I’m still looking for more.


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