Wolf Expedition Home Base

Stage One: ASK
The first step in learning is to become engaged in a real question. The quality of what we learn is limited by the quality of the questions we ask. It's hard to get important answers if we don't ask important questions.

Step 1: Enter the Topic

Step 2: Develop Preliminary Questions

Stage Two: LISTEN
Once we have a question, we may find answers by listening to the historical record. The historical record includes every trace that survives from the past, so "listening" should be broadly understood to include all the ways we can gather knowledge that has already been constructed by other scholars, artists, and scientists. We may visit the library, interview an expert, examine a historical photograph, study an artifact, tour a site, read a text, look at a painting, listen to music.

Step 3: Report and Discuss Preliminary Ideas

Step 4: Do Background Reading (Preliminary Research)

Stage Three: EXPLORE
When we set out beyond the edge of what is known, we become explorers. As researchers, we explore by forming new questions, developing hypotheses to test, and gathering information that has not yet been gathered.

Step 5: Discuss a Plan

Step 6: Write a Research Proposal

Step 7: Get Started: Visit an Archives

Stage Four: REFLECT
We gather information through experience, including observing and reading. Then we make sense of that information and fit it into what we already know by reflecting upon it. Sometimes this leads us to change what we already "know."

Step 8: Clarify Possible Themes or Theses for your Work

Step 9: Plan your Final Product

When you write history, you make history. History is not something that is "owned" by professional historians. History is a public conversation about the past and what it means. As in any significant conversation, it's important to be honest, to be generous, to be thoughtful, and to be clear.

Step 10: Create your Final Presentation

A Note to Teachers



Directory of Staff, Schools, and Teachers
Subscribe to Heritage Education | Sign up for
Email Newsletter

153 North Main
St. Ignatius, MT 59865
(406) 745-2600
fax (406) 745-2757

Materials on this site (except when otherwise noted) may be used for educational purposes. Please include credit line to the Montana Heritage Project.
A Project of the Montana Historical Society and the
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Sponsored by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation