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HIST 1301 for Prof. Ball

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information sources for their research papers.


What Are Your Keywords?

You have several topics that Prof. Ball allows you to choose from:

  • Medical care during the American Revolution
  • Prison ships during the American Revolution
  • Camp wives during the American Revolution
  • Weapons and munitions during the American Revolution
  • A particular battle of the American Revolution
  • Role of the French in the American Revolution
  • Role of the Spanish in the American Revolution
  • Loyalists during the American Revolution

Once you have chosen your topic, it's time to develop keywords. Watch the video above. It explains what keywords are and how to write them. Write down your own keywords for your topic. Consider what words might appear in information sources for your topic. For example, if you are researching camp wives during the American revolution, consider these related words:

  • women
  • woman
  • girl
  • camp follower

I want to emphasize that when you are searching for primary sources, it will be especially important to search for the words used by the people during the American Revolution. There were camp wives on both sides of the American Revolution, but the people who lived during that time and wrote about their experiences didn't necessarily call them that. That's why, when I searched for primary sources on this topic, I found the first three items in the bulleted list to be far more useful as search terms.

What Are Primary Sources

What Are Primary Sources?

The above video explains the differences between primary and secondary sources.

In the study of history, primary sources refers to first-hand accounts of events. For example, some of your sources for research in the American Revolution may include

  • Letters written by participants in the Revolution
  • Diaries written by participants in the Revolution
  • Records of the armies, navies, and other organizations that participated in the Revolution

Primary Sources in Websites

How to Find Primary Sources in Websites

Below you can find a list of websites which contain primary sources for the study of United States history.

Primary Sources by Native Americans

For one of your assignments, you must have primary sources from indigenous peoples from the early 19th Century. Here are two ebooks that are collections of writings of Native Americans from this time period.

Introduction to Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

Secondary Sources in Databases

How to Find Secondary Sources in the Library Databases

Secondary sources are sources of information written by people who are citing primary (or even other secondary sources) as their sources of information.

That's a complicated definition, so let's simplify it. Historical books and articles written by people who weren't actually there are secondary sources.

Here are some good databases for finding secondary sources about historical topics.


How to Search eBooks

We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

The video above shows you how to search the ebook database titled EBSCO eBook Collection.

The video above shows you how to search the database ProQuest EBook Central.

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