Imagine you want to explore a part of history. The US Civil War, for instance.
First you have to find your “entry level”. Political? Military? Daily life in the country? Chronology? What happened before? Slavery?
Then what do you read? Documents from the era? Historians? Biographies? Novels happening at this time? Hmmm…
What is the size of your magnifier? Do you watch structures and big pictures, or do you focus on one day in the war?
I discovered that my best way to explore a field is to gather a few books and to focus on one little element.
It can be a sole day in the war, or one battle only, or one person of the time. But it can be one “element”, for example : railroads during the Civil War, or the way this war has been represented in movies along the century.
Then : insisting. Many angles. Many sources. Etc. And little by little you’ll find… a fabric, a texture, something…
Then you’ll know if you have to go on, and which way. Another “zoom” or a big synthesis, whatever.
Have fun. Thanks for reading!