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LGBT Resources

Use this guide to begin exploring varied issues relating to LGBT history and life

Research Questions Matter

New knowledge inevitably leads to new questions. Think of a television program involving a criminal investigation. Experts arrive on the scene to answer a fundamental question: "What happened here?" But their investigation merely begins with that basic question. Soon they are finding themselves answering more specific questions in order to figure out what happened. Who all was involved with the crime? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? Were there any witnesses? It is only by answering a series of smaller questions that they are ultimately able to see the big picture. 

A researcher investigates a topic much like a detective investigates a crime. You may start off with an overriding question but you'll soon find yourself asking many more questions on your journey.

The video below explains why you should always begin your search for relevant, credible information by creating a list of research questions that will drive your research.


Inquiry Driven Research

What Are You Trying to Figure Out?

Research works best when it is tackled with the true spirit of inquiry. What are you ultimately trying to figure out in regards to your topic?  Are you trying to gain an overview of a brand new topic, or understand something familiar with greater depth and clarity? Are you trying to develop a new idea or find the best arguments for or against an existing idea? Are you trying to find a solution to a problem? Approaching research through the lens of inquiry is a great way to keep you motivated. You aren't just looking for information, you're looking for ANSWERS!

Preliminary Reading: Getting Acquainted with Your Topic

It's important to begin your research learning something about your subject; in fact, you won't be able to create a focused, manageable thesis unless you already know something about your topic. The list below includes books and databases you'll find online.

All of these resources are free for MJC students, faculty, & staff.

If you're working from off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database, simply enter your student ID (without the W) and your six-digit birth date.


Selected Books:


Selected Databases:

Example Research Questions

Once you've become more familiar with your topic; you're ready to begin answering all those questions you generated while doing your preliminary reading.

Issues pertaining to the LGBT community are complex and varied involving such topics as gender identity, crime, legislation, child custody, marriage, discrimination, and many more. You could concentrate on one issue and do in-depth research on that, or use several of the questions below to focus more generally.

  • What is the history of the gay rights movement?
  • What challenges to basic rights have members of the LGBT community faced?
  • How has the battle for transgender rights been similar to the trajectory of the gay rights movement? How has it differed?
  • Should the federal and state governments pass laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in areas including employment, housing, education, and public accommodations? Why or why not?
  • Was Representative Barney Frank (D, Massachusetts) right to attempt to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have prohibited employers from discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, without including protections for transgender workers? Why or why not?