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History 301: Historical Methods and Writing

Course guide for HIST 301

Welcome to History research!

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Advertisement for Harry Houdini's Conjurer's Monthly Magazine. Undated. Oscar Teale Houdini Scrapbook. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Digital ID (h) varshoud hs004.

Welcome to your History 301 course guide!  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 on your history topic.

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.)
  • Ethnic and racial group references have transformed over time (e.g., Native Americans has replaced the term Indians which is now reserved in scholarly works to refer to South Asians from the nation of India.) 
  • Geographic names can change over time (Myanmar used to be Burma.) 
  • Time periods can be vague so try to be fairly broad (use the term "19th century" instead of 1849-1879) unless you are looking at a specific event such as the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 
  • Non-English alphabets may be translated into English with a number of variant spellings. 
  • 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 distort or disregard facts about 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 permission and may require 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 in the results does not mean it is the best. 

Contact the History Librarian