Documentary research

Now that you have determined your topic and how you want to treat it, you need to gather the information you need.

Throughout the documentation work, you must keep in mind the subject of your work, the ideas to develop, your tentative plan.

This will allow you to discriminate the essential information from the ancillary items and determine what you need to note.

However, it is important to choose the keywords of your research topic. These words are the only link between you and the information you will find. They will allow you to find much more easily and adequately what you are looking for.

The problem and the hypothesis

Your chosen subject, you must now try to formulate it as a problem or hypothesis depending on the nature of your work.


All research must first start from a problem, that is to say from what we want to know about a phenomenon. In fact, it is a questioning on your subject:

  • Why did this happen?
  • How to explain this situation?

So you ask the problem in the form of questions about your subject. It is not a question of describing an object of study, but of analyzing the subject from a questioning.

Then rank these questions in the order in which you think you should treat them.

If your course notes address the subject of your research, you can use it to develop your problem.


The working hypothesis is a proposition that one wants to defend or discuss. This proposal is the answer to your questioning during the development of the problem.

Taking into account the instructions given by the teacher, the development of the hypothesis requires a reflection from some preliminary reading (reference books, course notes). The important thing here is to properly structure your hypothesis, usually articulated around a main argument.

The hypothesis, to be credible, must be based on real facts and be verifiable according to qualitative or quantitative data. This is one or more declarative sentences.

Example of a hypothesis:

  • The ancient Olympic Games served as sports competitions, religious festivals, diplomatic meetings, trading venues and played a catalytic role in the sense of belonging to a city state.
  • You are now able to draw up a tentative plan in which you will specify the main parts of your work. This tentative plan will help you orient your search.


  • At this point, your questions and ideas are not necessarily complete and definitive. They will become clear as you move forward in your work.