To start investigating a new subject, we need to pose questions.
The Learning section outlines a general framework for the process of posing questions.
The Investigating section, provides numerous sample questions that we might use for investigating the First Fleet.
Asking questions is easy, but we also have to learn how to ask them. The art of framing questions is a very important skill - questions need to be framed in such a way that answering them becomes possible. We'll need to decide whether the question can be answered by the Database or whether we'll have to research other resources, such as those in Stories and Links.
How did the First Fleet get to Australia?
Who came to Australia?
What was life like in the new settlement?
Who was the youngest convict?
Compare this table with the following tables from Lloyd Robson's book
In the quotes from Governor Phillip's journals in Stories, he mentions convicts who are farmers and carpenters. He doesn't mention their names. Could we use the Database to find out the names of two people capable of taking charge of a farm? Who are the carpenters? Who would be the 'smith'?
Note: many of the convicts have incomplete details. For example many have no trade recorded, or no age known, or the value of their crime is not applicable to the type of crime committed. This may need to be taken into account when researching questions, in particular when researching statistical questions.
Two convicts named Youngson committed the same crime. Two convicts named Allen robbed the same victim. The data cannot tell us the relationship of these similarly named convicts. Are they husband and wife, brother and sister, or completely unrelated? What theories could we construct from this incomplete evidence about these convicts?[Top]
How Useful is a History Database?