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Honors HIST 2312 -- (Prof. Ball)

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information sources for the research assignments in Prof. Ball's Honors HIST 2312 class.

Developing a Topic

How Do You Develop a Topic?

What would you like to research for this assignment? The number of possible topics is vast, which may make the task more difficult.

Try writing out a topic triangle as the above video demonstrates. You may choose a topic from the European Middle Ages to the present (roughly 500 AD to now). For example, you might look at sports in the European history. Narrowing your topic, you might look at the history of soccer, which is sometimes called association football. If you like, you could narrow your topic further to the history of the FIFA World Cup.

It's prudent to read a few encyclopedia articles about your topic in order to become familiar with it, as well as move your topic from the general to the specific. We librarians call this pre-research. Again, to use our example, if you're interested in the history of sports, then you could read articles on that topic. You could get more specific and look at articles about soccer or association football, or even the World Cup.

For that end, I highly recommend the database Credo Reference, which is a database of reference book articles. Use this to explore your topic. Wander as your interests take you.

The video above shows you how to search Credo Reference. There is a link to the database below.

Primary Sources for World History

How to Find 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. Secondary sources are those written by authors who did not have first-hand accounts of events. So, for example, writings by Jules Rimet, the soccer administrator who founded the World Cup, would be primary sources. Articles about his life would be secondary sources.

I would like to stress that the search for primary sources comes after your pre-research. It's very hard to recognize relevant primary sources when you have only a cursory knowledge of your topic. To continue the above example, if you are writing about the World Cup and don't know who Jules Rimet is, then you might pass up a letter that he wrote as a primary source, even though it might be very relevant to your research topic.

There is no one, central, unified body of primary sources for world history. But here are some excellent collections for you to browse.

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.

Database for History: Academic Search Complete

How to Search Academic Search Complete

We have several library databases that are useful for historical research. One is called Academic Search Complete. This video will teach you how to search it for scholarly journal articles about your topic. There is a link below to the database.

Database for History: JSTOR

How to Search JSTOR

Another excellent database for historical research is JSTOR. This video shows you how to search it for scholarly journal articles on your topic. There is a link below to the database.


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.

How to Find Print Books on Your Topic

How to Find Books on Your Topic

The library catalog is the tool that you use to find print books in the libraries. We have vast quantities of print books on history at the North Harris Library, so this search is probably worth your topic. The above video shows you how to search it.

Once you find a call number for a book, you should locate it in the library. This video shows you how. You can also ask a library staff member to show you how to do it.

Chicago Manual of Style Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources According to the Chicago Manual of Style

You must cite your sources according to the Chicago Manual of Style.

This is our video that introduces Chicago Manual of Style documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper.

This is a sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. You must cite in a particular way in the body of your paper and a particular way in your bibliography.

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