This library course guide is intended to help history students hone their research skills related to finding sources for their essays.
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
- Developing strong research questions
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
Find definitions, identify key concepts by consulting online reference sources
- Encyclopedia of American disability history (print only)
- Handbook of disability studies
- Oxford Handbook of disability history
- Routledge Handbook of disability studies
- SAGE Knowledge Encyclopedias
To find books or journal articles, you have 3 options:
1. Use Omni - the library's main search box
- type in the keywords of your topic in the search box
- use the filters to refine your search results
- try using the Advanced Search and narrow by Subject terms (controlled vocabulary)
- use the Omni Search Tips guide if you need help
- remember to login using MyCarletonOne credentials if you are searching from off campus
2. Recommended databases for journal articles/books include:
- Historical Abstracts - covers 1450 to the present of world history (excluding North America)
- America, History and Life - covers all areas of Canadian and U.S. history
- JSTOR - digital library of journal articles, books and primary sources on all topics
- Reader's Guide Retrospective - reflects the history of the United States in the 20th century
3. Use a search engine:
- Google Scholar - access via the library's web site, searches information on the web and provides links to full-text articles to which the Carleton Library subscribes, or to articles made freely available by the publisher.
Step by step Instructions
1. Identify the main concepts or keywords of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords. Here are some words and phrases to consider using: disabled servicemen, disabled soldier, amputee(s), impairment, World War I veterans, crippled
2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine concepts and enhance your search.
By using AND, you are narrowing your search, and by using OR (with brackets) to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search. Here are a few examples:
"World War I" AND Canad* AND disability
(disability OR barrier OR handicap)
corona NOT virus
3. Make sure to enclose phrase searches with quotation marks. Example: "shell shock"
4. Use the truncation (or stemming) to broaden your search. The asterisk * at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: Canad* = Canada's, Canadian | wom*n = women, woman
5. Begin searching for material with the Omni, the library's main search box to find books and other sources on your topic. Remember to filter your search by content type for each new search in order to find a variety of material.
6. Here are the filters to use for finding peer-reviewed journals:
- Peer-reviewed journals
- Subject (optional)
7. Here are the filters to use for finding books:
- Print physical item
8. Use Virtual Browse at bottom of search results screen to browse books.
9. If you need more help use the Omni Search Tips guide
Definition - primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event, or documents and objects that were created at the time under investigation.
Begin your research with: What are Primary sources?
Watch this video: Understanding Primary & Secondary Sources (YouTube video)
- Find Images - explains step by step how to find images more effectively
Where to search for images:
- Student writing; give it a generous reading
- Writing an outline (web page)
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- Practicing research in writing studies: reflexive and ethically responsible research
- Writing Services
- Use the "How to" Guide on Chicago Citation Sytle (Notes & Bibliography)
- OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab - Chicago Manual of Style