This course guide introduces students to the library research process for finding primary and secondary sources, archives, and other relevant material and tools required to write an undergraduate-level essay.
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
Identify key concepts/ideas/themes by consulting encyclopedias or handbooks
To find books or journal articles, you have two options: search Omni, or use subject-specific Databases.
Use the Search Tips listed below to help guide you in this process.
- instructions for finding books on your topic
- instructions for finding journal articles by your topic
- instructions for finding a known journal article by title
- America History and Life
- Anthropology Plus
- eHRAF World Cultures
- Historical Abstracts
- HAPI Online
- Web of Science
- Use single search terms, not sentences. Use AND to combine search terms, both of which you want to find in the article.
- Use synonyms to search for similar items, such as: (Nahua OR Aztec). Enclose synonyms within brackets.
- Use quotation marks ("") to search for a phrase. For example, "Aztec Society"
- Use an asterisk (*) to find words with the same root word. For example: enviro* will find environment, environments, environmental, etc.
- Use the database filters to narrow down and focus your search results. For example: by subject, document type (book or article) or date
- Remember to look for new search terms when scanning your search Results. Then create subsequent searches with these new terms.
- Use Review articles to get an overview of a topic and use the bibliography to find similar research.
- To search for articles within a specific journal in Omni, such as Ancient Mesoamerica, click on Journal Searching for instructions.
- A short guide to writing about history (print only)
- Essaying the past; how to read, write and think about history
Citation Management Tools
- See the Citation Management web page