African History


Your assignments at university are an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring topics in depth, weighing the evidence, and drawing your own conclusions.  A good research topic is one that sparks your interest and allows you to ask new questions. This guide is intended to help you get started.

Pick a research topic

  • Read your assignment instructions carefully
  • Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the assignment
  • Identify key concepts of your research topic
  • Do some background reading on your topic using Wikipedia

Use dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks to find definitions, introductions and overviews of your topic

Consult writing guides for help

Begin with the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources web guide overview.

How to search for primary sources:

Search your topic (or historical person of interest) using the library's main search box to find primary sources (or reproductions) in our collection. Keyword searches that include the following terms will identify primary materials most of the time.

  • Diar* (for diary or diaries)
  • Correspondence
  • Letters
  • Memoir
  • Personal narrative
  • Recollections
  • Reminiscences
  • Journal
  • Sources

 Other search tips:

Primary Sources on the web

Other libraries with significant primary source collections

News and Newspapers

Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Government Information

The library houses important retrospective goverment documents for the study of Africa which has been actively developed since 1970. Extensive coverage is available on countries which were former British colonies, ie: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ask at the Research Help desk for assistance.

Government offices and agencies with an interest in Africa include:

See also Foreign Government Information: Africa guide

Other Media



Kanopy - provides streaming for educational video products from the arts, humanities, health, business, education and more.

Selected videos sources:

Content last updated: November 7, 2019