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History: Home

Welcome

This is a guide to researching for an essay or dissertation in History.

Step 1: Search the library catalogue for books

Search tips:

  1. Choosing keywords. Try searching on alternative keywords if you don't get the results you expect.
  2. Phrase searching. Try putting common phrases in quotation marks, e.g. "industrial revolution".
  3. Truncation/wildcard. Put an asterisk at the end of the stem of the word to search for any letters which come after it, e.g. film* will find film, films, filming, etc.
  4. Refining to ebooks. Use the ebook filter.

Step 3: If the library doesn't have the book/article

Suggest a Book for the Library

Help with academic skills

Step 2: Search databases for secondary sources

The databases listed below contain research in History (journal articles and book articles). Choose a database appropriate for your specific topic. Historical Abstracts is a good general database in this subject (though it excludes the United States and Canada).

Search tips:

  1. Choosing keywords. Try searching on alternative keywords if you don't get the results you expect.
  2. Combining search terms. Combine concepts with AND. Combine alternative keywords with OR, e.g.  (film OR cinema) AND (horror or suspense)
  3. Phrase searching. Try putting common phrases in quotation marks, e.g. "industrial revolution"
  4. Truncation/wildcard. Put an asterisk at the end of the stem of the word to search for any letters which come after it, e.g. film* will find film, films, filming, etc.
  5. Refining search. Refine your search using the filters available, e.g. date, language
  6. Evaluating results. Read the abstract and subject headings to decide whether the article is relevant to your research.
  7. Finding full text. If you don't see a PDF link, try clicking on the WebBridge button - this may take you to the full text. If not, see Step 3 below.

Step 4: Search for primary sources

Below you will find a selective list of online primary sources. Remember to also check the library catalogue for primary sources published as books.

World history

European history

Scottish history

British history

Audio-visual materials

Images

Biographies

Newspapers

Official Publications

Statistics

Maps

Early printed publications

Manuscripts

Specific people and topics

African history

American history

Your Librarian

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Helen Beardsley

Step 5: Cite your references

Evaluating web sources

It is important to critically analyse information before you use it in an essay, report or assignment.

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