Research Process / Overview of Resources
This summary provides a basic overview of how to go about researching a topic with comments on essential resources and tips to make the research portion of writing your paper less daunting. The tabs for each section contain more detail.
With a topic this broad a crucial question is where to begin? IF you haven't chosen what to explore, browse in one of the suggested Reference titles.
Once you have a topic, use the Reference resources for essential background information, these will give you dates, names, and a (more or less) detailed chronology and summary of activity.
--Events and locations will be in these and the print resources listed, along with other disciplinary encyclopedias (political science, women's studies, etc.)
--Individuals will be in the Biography resources: Biography in Context is good for both the living and the dead, and Gale Literature Resource Center is very useful for individuals who wrote extensively.
Secondary sources (scholarly books, articles, documentaries, etc.)
You are researching individuals, events, or movements, at least the first two have specific names/dates, use those as Subject searches. Movements will also have subject headings, try keyword searching first to use keyword searching first to find the most appropriate. Scholarly sources will have bibliographies, it's one of the best ways to identify primary sources and other secondary sources. If the source doesn't have a bibliography and isn't a memoir, autobiography, or some sort of opinion piece use at your own risk.
--Catalogusmai or the Books, Media tab arerecommended for book searching. LImited requests for hardcopy from USM libraries, digital requests only from Interlibrary Loan (book chapters, documents, no full works).
--Dissertations are valuable for additional sources, literature reviews, and original research.
--Historical Abstracts is the database for scholarly history articles and it links to our other databases and journal collections like JSTOR and Project Muse.
--Videos/documentaries can be searched for directly in the video databases.
Primary Sources (government reports, archival collections, contemporary articles/news, personal writings/memoirs, correspondence, etc.) See the Primary Sources guide for search techniques.
Primary sources come in a lot of different varieties, most of what you will likely use will be from published sources or easily accessible archives (in person or online).