Leading Questions for Researching Innovation or Technology

 

Leading Questions is a series provided to help researchers get started.  The questions below are intended to be broadly applicable for use by researchers at any level of experience.  If you are an applicant for an Indiana State Historical Marker, answer these questions using primary sources to support your findings; you should then have a very strong application! Keep in mind that several Leading Questions issues may be applicable to your marker topic. 

Not sure where to find the answers to these questions?  Start with the Research Checklist IHB uses when beginning a research project, and try to visit these local resources.  No matter where you find the answers, be sure to keep track of what you found and where you found it with citations! Also keep track of sources that did not prove helpful at the time; it can save time later as your research proceeds.

Leading Questions for Researching Innovation or Technology

  • What was the innovation/technology originally designed or built to do?  How did it work?
  • What organization, agency, or individual was responsible for originating the innovation or technology?  Did the responsible parties change during the life of the innovation, and if so, when and why?
  • Was it part of a state and/or national endeavor?  Explain what it was used for and its significance.
  • How did the innovation/technology and its related activities contribute to the development of its field?
  • Is the innovation/technology associated with specific historical event(s) that give it unusual prominence?
  • What was the impact of the innovation/technology on the community and/or state?  Did it bring local or regional economic prosperity?  Was it related to overall state economic growth?
  • When was the innovation/technology first used in Indiana?  Did the design and/or use change over time?  When and why?
  • How long was the innovation/technology in use or operation?  Is it still in use today?  If not, why?  Are there any visible remains or outgrowths?