Getting started with Titanic Research

Not open for further replies.

Nathan L. Casteel

Former Member
Hello I am wanting to start doing some research work on the R.M.S. Titanic and I know that I'll need a pen to write with and notebooks. Will I need to have anything else? Any answers will be accepted and appreciated thank you.

Nathan L. Casteel

Former Member
I know Phillip: I do and use my brain by the way. I was asking "Will I need anything else?" Like besides pens and notebooks & also a brain you know.
I didn't know which would be the best place to ask this question, so I will start there a topic that specifically deals with books on the Titanic? It seems there are so many out there and it would be nice to have one place where people could list books they have read and maybe recommend certain ones. Is there a place that lists the books outside of the discussion boards?

Philip Hind

Staff member
So you already have a brain, a pen and a piece of paper. No, I don't think you will need anything else. Good luck and be sure to let us know what you come up with.

Nathan L. Casteel

Former Member
Philip I was asking if I needed anything else that I need to have before I started to do work on this research. If you have anything let me know.


I am not sure what you are doing Nathan...but maybe you should get a bunch of folders to organize your research topics before finally putting it one for the White Star Line itself, one about the ship's conception/construction, etc.
Bear in mind that newspaper accounts were then (as now) often inaccurate and sensationalised, but there are compilations available in book form, for example:

'The Titanic Disaster as reported in the British National Press April-July 1912' - Dave Bryceson.
'Extra Titanic. The Story of the Disaster in the Newspapers of the Day' - Eric Caren & Steve Goldman.

You might also like to try one of the pot-boiler books which appeared very soon after the disaster back in 1912 and were basically drawn from newspaper accounts of the time. Here's one which you can read online:
Herman Melville summed up the requirements for an author in Moby Dick. "Time, strength, cash and patience."

Anybody who expects to achieve something new in this field will need all four, especially the cash. Hunting though old newspapers and documents and copying them is a costly exercise. Have a look at the cost of the gallery assembled by Phil Gowan and Brian Meister and generously added to this site. Then look at the work and time involved. It's not easy to do anything new and original.
Time, patience, files for all the data and documents you collect, money to pay for what you need...where do I even start? Nathan, you might want to check out the links I found on this Hotlink for some direction. Beyond that, You'll pretty much have to learn by doing.
I would echo what others have said here and especially Daves's comment that it's not easy to come up with something new. There are plenty of people who can write, but to make a success of it you need to have something to write about, and that's the hard part! So I would say this to all would-be writers - first learn research skills, then get experience in analysis of data and the sifting of facts from speculation, rumour and wishful thinking. Finally, develop the all-important 'jigsaw' skill of assembling a cohesive whole from a multitude of parts.

Don't be too ambitious with your first efforts - by all means aspire to writing the definitive and complete history of the Titanic disaster when you have more experience (and more time), but make a start with something more manageable. If your main interest is people, for instance, find out all you can about one family or one group (the teenage lift attendants, for instance, or passengers who had links with your own State or County). But make sure you are researching a group about whom little is known. Of course it's a lot easier to choose people about whom a lot has been written, but that would be missing the point of the exercise.

If your own researches deliver enough information and you're satisfied that it's both accurate and original, write a feature which can be 'published' at no cost on a website like this one. Learn from the responses and feedback that you get from your first efforts. Every great enterprise must start from small beginnings.
Not open for further replies.