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HIS496 - History Seminar  

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction Print Page

What you'll find in this guide

This guide to research sources in history provides suggestions for background information, primary and secondary resources, and how to cite your sources within your paper.


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Research Strategies

Recommended Strategy to Begin Your Research

Begin your research by reading some background information about your topic. Make a list of key people, dates, and terms relating to your topic. Check out the facets of your topic using the Concept Map tool on CredoReference.

Once you have studied the background of your topic, locate primary and secondary sources with which to write your paper.

Tip: Start your research with secondary sources.  See which primary sources were used by the authors of the secondary sources, and then try to track them down.

Determine other types of primary sources to use:

  • Find digitized primary source collections on the web (see list on Primary Sources tab)
  • Find published primary sources using the online catalog.

Follow Rampolla's* advice:

  • Remember to ask those detective questions: Who? What? Where? When? and Why?
  • Try to discover the context in which an event occurred.
  • Examine the causes of an event.
  • Ask questions about the relationship between the continuity of ideas, institutions, and conditions and changes that have occurred.

* Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (Boston: Bedford/St Martin's, 2012) 3-4.

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Jayne Germer
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