A brief research guide for Professor Carlos Mujal's summer session class.
The Research Process
Choose a topic.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including
Names of people, organizations, companies, time period you are interested in, places of interest [countries, regions, cities]
Fill in the gaps in your knowlege: get background information from encyclopedias or other secondary sources. Wikipedia can be good here.
Select the best places/ databases to find information on your topic. Look under the History Databases tab of this guide for article database suggestions. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine Your Topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
Take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research for more ideas.
This classic book on writing a college research paper is easily skimmed or deep enough for the truly obsessed researcher, explains the whole research process from initial questioning, through making an argument, all the way to effectively writing your paper.
This link is to the Google Books preview. But buy a secondhand copy for yourself. It's worth the $8 bucks.
Three important databases for research in History.
America: History and Life Indexes over 2,000 journals published worldwide on the history of the US and Canada from prehistory to the present. Includes all key English-language historical journals; selected historical journals from major countries, state, and local history journals; and a targeted selection of hundreds of journals in the social sciences and humanities.
Historical Abstracts Indexes over 2,000 journals, as well as historical book reviews and dissertations, published worldwide about all aspects of world history (excluding US and Canada) from 1450 to the present.
JSTOR Includes over 1000 scholarly journals with access to more than 2 million articles. JSTOR does not include the most recent 3-5 years of the journals.
The library has created a guide to searching for primary sources in Oskicat, including the best search terms you can use.
This is a list of a few of the many primary source databases in US History, in addition to Oskicat. more
ProQuest Congressional One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text Congressional Hearings from 1824-present, full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set from 1789-1969, and legislative histories from 1970-present. For more information on how to find hearings, consult the Congressional Tutorials homepage
AP Images Includes Associated Press's current-year photo report and a selection from a 50-million image print and negative library dating from 1844-present. Currently contains about 700,000 photos, most of which are contemporary images made since late 1995.
Nation Digital Archive Full text access to The Nation, a weekly news magazine covering U.S. politics
and society since 1865.
Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) Indexes over 35,000 declassified documents spanning fifty years of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.
DDRS (Declassified Documents Reference System) Over 75,000 documents and almost 500,000 pages of materials declassified via the Freedom of Information Act and regular declassification requests, making broad-based and highly targeted investigation of government documents possible. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered.
Off-campus Access to Library Resources
Before you can access Library resources from off campus make sure you have configured your computer with proxy server settings.
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource.