Friday, May 15, 2009

Chasing Research Rabbits

I was in the UT library recently - hunting, not haunting. I was chasing research rabbits (figuratively, of course). Toward the end of my History Honors class this spring, the professor asked us several questions: 1) do you plan to go on to History 407 and 408 (researching and writing a senior thesis)? 2) if so, do you have a topic in mind? 3) have you chosen a faculty mentor yet? When we were discussing our possible topics, the prof looked at me and said, "I know you have one." After a year of independent research, I was able to give a relatively good synopsis of my topic - German POW camps in TN during WWII.

However, as I was chasing research rabbits the other night for that particular topic, one rabbit took a side trip down another stack. I stumbled upon the topic of female POWs in WWII. I had never heard of female POWs in WWII. Apparently, 90 nurses (Navy and Army) were captured and detained in Japanese and German POW camps - 79 in Japanese camps and 11 in German camps. I am currently chasing this rabbit through the cyber stacks to determine if there are enough primary sources available to support a thesis/research project.

I guess I am a research nerd at heart because I have found several sources over the last couple of days and am overjoyed that the pieces of this research puzzle are falling into place. I may hit a wall before the summer is out and have to re-evaluate. I hope not. I hope there are enough resources about this topic to justify and sustain further research.

In the meantime, I have another couple of rabbits to chase. I just hope they don't lead me down a hole like Alice in Wonderland! Stay tuned . . . .

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