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HIST 201: U.S. History I

A guide to primary and secondary research on early American history.

Objective

There are many ways to approach history research. Today's activity is designed to help you get started by selecting a topic that interests you. In this activity, you will:

  • Identify an aspect of history research that interests you
  • Brainstorm key words and phrases that describe a topic within that area of history research
  • Discover the terms that historians use to describe your topic to aid in searching
  • Learn where to search for books, ebooks, primary sources, and scholarly articles

While everyone in your group should have their own individual research topic, you can discuss your ideas, brainstorm search strategies together, and compare results.

Background information

Books & ebooks

Primary sources

Now that you've identified potential types of primary sources, it's time to start searching. Check out the guide to primary sources, which lists 70+ places to find historical newspapers, personal diaries, maps, and other documents. Read the database descriptions to determine whether they cover the right time period and location for your research, then use your search terms from questions 2 & 3 to discover sources.

Scholarly articles

Scholarly articles are specific and narrowly focused, while books tend to be more broad, synthesizing lots of information and describing several trends. They are both useful to historians. Research articles can be found by searching the library's databases. The ones below are particularly good for history research.