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HIS 3002: The Historian's Craft

Tips for Finding Sources

1.  Scholarly books - search the library catalog (or statewide catalog). Look for books published by academic presses or professional organizations, or by educated scholars in the field.

2.  Scholarly articles - search OneSearch and limit results to Academic Journals, or search in a subject database.

3.  Authoritative online sources (websites) - use Google Advanced search to limit results to .edu or .gov domains.

4.  Primary sources - see the Primary Sources tab of this guide.

Follow the Trail!

Following the references and footnotes in a given book or article can help you identify additional sources on a topic. This is called citation chaining.

If you find a reference in a bibliography that interests you, check OneSearch or the library catalog to see if we have it.  If we don't, you can request the title through Interlibrary Loan or UBorrow.

Dissertations & Theses

In addition to serving as sources for your own research projects, most doctoral dissertations include exhaustive literature reviews and/or extensive bibliographies, making them incredibly useful for identifying additional sources on a topic.   

Selecting Sources

  • Evaluate and choose high-quality sources for your research paper
  • The best sources are scholarly or highly-regarded, well-referenced/cited, and authoritative (written or produced by experts, sponsored by appropriate organizations or agencies, etc.)
  • Choose sources that are relevant to your topic
  • Use a variety of sources to support your thesis/objective: books, scholarly articles, web sources, dissertations, news articles, popular sources, audio/visual media, etc.
  • Use different types of primary sources: speeches, writings, newspapers articles, interviews, etc. (for example: you can't write a good research paper with newspaper articles as your only primary sources)
  • A well-researched project will not rely solely on one type of source

Evaluating Web Sources

     Use the CRAAP test for evaluating websites and other online sources:

  • C - currency
  • R - relevance
  • A - authority
  • A - accuracy
  • P - purpose

Evaluating Info from the Web

Searching Google Effectively