Medieval History

Welcome

Your assignments at university are an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring topics in depth, formulating a unique research question, examining the research of others along with primary sources, building an argument, and drawing your own conclusions.  A good research topic is one that sparks your interest and allows you to ask new questions in order to find meaningful answers. This guide is intended to help you get started.

Pick a research topic

Use guides, dictionaries, and encyclopedias to find authoritative definitions, critical perspectives of major historians and useful analyses of major works, bibliographies, etc.

To find journal articles, you have three options:

1. Use Omni the library's main search box

  • type in the keywords of your topic or use the Advanced Search 
  • this tool searches most of the library's databases, simultaneously, for all types of material, ie: journal articles, books/e-books, book reviews, newspapers, magazines,videos, reports, 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 specialized databases for History

  • these databases are focused specifically on historical research
  • they contain citations or have full text links to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports, and dissertations
  • you will find more precise articles faster with fewer results to browse
  • Recommended databases for journal articles include:

3. Use a search engine

  • Google Scholar (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.

Additional Databases: 

Finding Books/eBooks

Use Omni, the library's main search box to find books (in addition to journal articles and almost everything else). Here are a few search tips:

  • do a keyword search in the box provided and filter the results by 'Books' under Resource Type; to find eBooks, select 'Available Online' under Availability
  • view instructions for finding eBooks on Omni
  • try adding the word 'sources' to any keyword search to locate primary sources 
  • when using the Advanced Search, filter by Subject (a controlled vocabulary used by cataloguers), then select Books, as Material Type
  • Listed below are some Subject headings used for medieval history topics. Try searching them when looking for books. Remember, for every book you find, scroll down to the Subjects listed in the book record under 'Details' to discover more subjects to explore.
    • Civilization, Medieval
    • Coins, Roman
    • Europe History, 476-1492
    • France, Antiquities, Roman
    • Historiography England History, to 1500
    • Inscriptions, Latin
    • Medicine, Medieval History Sources
    • Middle Ages
    • Numismatics, Ancient
    • Social history, Medieval, 500-1500
  • 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:

Begin with:

Searching for primary sources:

Search your topic (or historical person of interest) using Omni, 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

 Search tips:

Primary Sources on the web

Other libraries and collections:

MANUSCRIPTS

Bestiary

Church and Religion

England

Law and Legal History

Military

Music

Women in the Middle Ages

Writing an annotated bibliography

Writing your essay

Citing your sources

Referencing your sources is an important part of academic writing. Why?

Other Writing Help

Writing Services offers students instruction on developing an argument, structuring ideas, writing well, etc. and is part of the Centre for Student Academic Support.

Content last reviewed: August 5, 2020