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History 430: Seminar in U.S. History (Quinney)

Sources and methods in researching the history of US foreign policy and affairs..

Welcome to History research!

Redacted Black Panther files in FBI Reading Room

Cover page of Black Panther Party Files. 1969-1976. FBI Records: The Vault. United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Welcome to your History 430 course guide examining a historical example of political extremism!  You may explore the various links on the left side of this page to find books, ebooks, journal articles, and more resources essential to successful research. 

No guide can include every possible resource you need for your specific topic, so do not hesitate to reach out for help from me or your professor. You see my contact information to the right with email and chat options. If you have a complex question or need to search multiple resources, we will set up an appointment via Zoom. 

We may be doing everything remotely but that should not stop you from finding the primary and secondary sources essential to a good project.

Key Concepts that apply to all history research:

  • Use appropriate terminology (World War I was the "Great War" at the time since we didn't know there would be a second world war.)
  • Biased language and subjective definitions can cause difficulty in your searches. 
  • Ethnic and racial group references have transformed over time (e.g., Native Americans has replaced the term Indians. Indians is now reserved in scholarly works to refer to South Asians from the nation of India.) 
  • Time periods can be 'slushy' so try to be fairly broad ("19th century" instead of 1849-1879) unless you are looking at a specific event such as a labor strike or revolt. 
  • Non-English alphabets may be translated into English with a number of variant spellings. 
  • Geographic names can change over time (Myanmar used to be Burma.) 
  • Primary sources demonstrate the stereotypes and prejudices of the time, especially in the popular press or during times of conflict. 
  • Propaganda or materials created by those in power are biased and frequently distorts facts regarding those not in power.
  • Give appropriate credit in your citation and comply with usage restrictions. 
    • Most sources allow use for educational purpose as long as cited or a particular condition is met. See Zapatistas! Anti-copyright statement and Creative Commons as examples.) 
    • Some sources will clearly state they cannot be used without a fee (e.g., Getty Images)
    • The information or image must be from the original source (NOT Wikipedia, Pinterest or Google Images...) 
  • Be a critical consumer, just because it is the first link does not mean it is the best. 

Academic Transitions Librarian, and Librarian for Communication & Media Studies, and History