(Suggested) Steps for conducting research in History.
There are many entry points in joining a conversation about history. You might find a book, article, film, a primary source, something from a text book - all of these sources can provide a point of entry into a topic. But first, you need to find your topic!
If you need an introduction to, or background information on, a topic
If you already have a vague idea about your topic, for example, Slovenia and Communism, you'll want to do some preliminary search for background information. Ask yourself "so what?" about your topic. For example, so what about Slovenia and Communism?
Background Information - Searching
Encyclopedias are often your best friend for getting background information on a topic.
- Use encyclopedias available from the COD Library, such as Credo and Encyclopedia Britannica, These are EXCELLENT sources that are written by scholars with academic credentials.
- Search Wikipedia - While this site can be updated by anyone, it can be useful to find ideas related to your topic. For example, in searching Slovenia I find that the Slovenian National Liberation Front was organized in 1941 that was led by the Communist Party. This information could be a good entry point for narrowing down your broader topic.
- Books - search the COD Library for books that give an overview of your topic.
Resources for your paper
Once you have some background on your topic, then start to gather resources for your paper or presentation. In searching for secondary sources, use the COD Library to find articles and books on your specific topic.
Suggested resources include:
- JSTOR - an archive of scholarly articles only on nearly every academic discipline
- Academic Search Complete - another multi-disciplinary database that has both scholarly and popular articles, including newspaper articles, and some multi-media sources
- Library catalog - find books and video related to your topic