Pick a Research topic
- Read your syllabus and course assignment instructions carefully
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the assignment
- Need extra help? Click on Choosing an essay topic
Do an initial search on Wikipedia for background knowledge
- Wikipedia will also help you to broaden your search terms
- Watch the video, Using Wikepedia Wisely
Key References sources
- International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
- Oxford handbook of refugee and forced migration studies
- Oxford Reference Online
- Refugees and Forced Migration: a Canadian perspective A-Z guide (print only)
- Refugees Worldwide
- SAGE Knowledge Encyclopedias
To find journal articles, you have 3 options:
1. Use Omni, the library's main search box
- type in the keywords of your topic or use the Advanced Search option
- this tool searches most of the library's databases, simultaneously, for all types of material, ie: peer reviewed journals, articles, book reviews, books/e-books, newspapers, magazines, videos, reports, maps, etc.
- each search can return many results (much like Google), so you must use the filters to refine your search results
- Need help? Try Omni Search Tips
2. Search a specialized database for History
3. Use a search engine
- Google Scholar (accessed via the library's web site) is a large search engine that searches information on the web and provides links to full-text articles to which the CU Library subscribes, or to articles made freely available by the publisher. It also provides articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and scholarly articles posted on the web.
- Although it is easy to use and includes 'cited by' and ranking features, it does not provide full text without a library subscription and the coverage for the humanities and social sciences is uneven. There is no filter for just scholarly publications and very few options to limit or narrow your search results.
Use Omni to find books (in addition to almost everything else)
Here are a few search tips to find books/eBooks:
- do a keyword search in the box provided
- filter the results by 'Books' under Resource Type; to find eBooks, select 'Available Online' under Availability
- view instructions for finding eBooks on Omni
- when using the Advanced Search option, filter by Subject (a controlled vocabulary of words and phrases), then select Books, as Material Type.
- After finding book(s) on your topic, use the Virtual Browse feature to discover other titles
- Need help? Try Omni Search Tips
Search eBook Collection Databases:
- Most databases do not support natural language searching. You have to be precise in the words that you select. Follow these instructions when using Boolean operators, AND, OR, NOT
- Join different concepts together using AND
- Use AND when the concepts are not related such as: refugees AND "Middle East". This narrows the search as both of those words must be in the information that is being returned.
- Use OR when the concepts are similar, and it does not matter which word is found in the information that is being returned. For instance, elderly OR geriatric OR aged. This broadens the search.
- Use NOT to exclude a word. For example: cloning NOT sheep
- Use brackets to group synonyms together. For example: (refugees OR asylum seeker)
- Use truncation (* asterisk) when you want to allow for several spellings or variations on a word. For example: soci* can stand for social, socialization, society, societies, sociology, sociological, etc. Tip: If you wish to replace exactly 1 letter, use ? question mark rather than * asterisk. Example: wom?n, globali?ation
- Complex search strings are evaluated left to right so make sure that you are grouping concepts together correctly, use parentheses. For instance, Canad* AND (elderly OR aged) AND (income OR pension)
Begin with: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources for an overview and explanation of these sources.
Searching for primary sources on Omni:
Search your topic (or historical person of interest) on Omni to find primary sources (or reproductions) in our collection. Boolean operators (command words) must be in CAPS - AND, OR, NOT
Example: refugee AND diar* AND biography
Keyword searches that include the following terms will usually identify primary sources: correspondence, diary, diaries, letters, memoir, personal narrative, recollections, reminiscences, journal(s), sources, oral sources, photographic portrait(s).
Another major strategy to keep in mind is that all history books (secondary sources) found on Omni will likely cite primary sources and list them in their bibliographies and footnotes. This will also help you quickly identify primary source material.
Consult this useful book: History beyond the text: a student's guide to approaching alternative sources - considers art, cartoons, photographs, film, TV, music oral history, architecture and material culture.
Historical Newspaper Databases
Primary Sources on the web
- Archives and Primary Sources - List of Databases
- Digital Public Library of America
- Internet Archive
- Hathi Trust Digital Library (Emergency Access)
- Library of Congress Digital Collections
- National Archives (UK)
- New York Public Library Digital Collections
Citing Primary Sources
Maps, Atlases and Web Sites
- Atlas of Migration
- Atlas of Migration in Europe: a critical geography of immigration policy
- People on the Move: an atlas of migration (print only)
- Migration Portal
- The Unrooted: a story map
- Earth Time: free map resource using data from 2000-2015 from various sources
- RefWorld has historical and more current maps
- The Refugee project uses data from the UNHCR
- UNHCR map portal
- Refuee History
- OECD International Migration Database
Note: A map and atlas display of 22 items regarding migration and refugees has been set up on Floor 1 for this class. Please take a few minutes to browse this collection.
Referencing your sources is an important part of academic writing. Why?
- it lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work
- it enables readers to find the source information
- it demonstrates that you are using the scholarly record and that you can provide authority for statements you make in your term paper
- it helps you to avoid plagiarism
- Chicago Citation Style (Notes and Bibliography) web page
- Chicago Style (Purdue Online Writing Lab) web page
- The Chicago manual of style online handbook