Choose a topic.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including
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.
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
To find books, DVDs, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.
OskiCat = UC Berkeley libraries
MELVYL= all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries
What's the difference?
For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not it's checked out, library use only, etc.
Examples of search terms:
polish american* history
arab american* women
cuban american* migration
african american* great migration
african american* chicago
hmong united states
irish san francisco
* = truncation symbol/wildcard for variant word endings
ex: immigra* = immigrant, immigrants, immigrating, immigration, etc.
Try out these OskiCat features:
To search, break your topic into components. Enter one word or phrase (two or more words together) per row of search boxes. Use as few terms as possible.
Narrowing: think about places, people or groups, time periods, aspects or events that might help you narrow your topic
(* = truncation/wildcard symbol: immigra* retrieves immigrant, immigrants, immigration, immigrating...some databases use a different symbol - consult Help screens)
Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject > H > History > America: History and Life
california (select a field - optional)
indian* or native* (select a field - optional)
statut* or legal or law* (select a field - optional)
historical period: year 1840 to 1900
Library home > Articles > General Article Databases > JSTOR
REMEMBER: JSTOR doesn't include articles from the last 3-5 years!!!
2. to narrow your search further, add another search term, or try searching for your terms in the titles of the articles:
immigra* (item title)
irish (item title)
advanced search also allows you to limit to certain years of publication (1980-2010, for example), to specific disciplines (ex: African American studies) etc.
Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic. The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.
1. Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic. Examples: literature, film, anthropology, history...
2. Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department). Look for "Recommended" databases.
Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject
3. You may need databases that cover diffferent types of materials - historical or ethnic newspapers, congressional information, primary sources, etc:
Library home > Electronic Resources > Electronic Resources, Types A-Z >
Once you've searched a database to find articles, you may need to use to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database isa bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the Uc-eLinks icon click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:
For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.
Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
Go to the Library web site for a more extensive list of primary source databases for American History and for the complete list of primary source databases, follow this path: Library home > Electronic Resources > Electronic resources types A-Z > Archival Collections and Primary Source Databases.
Historical Newspapers [Proquest] is a great primary resource.
negro* (citation and document text)
freeman (citation and document text)
immigra* (citation and document text)
from: 1/1/1870 12/31/1910
Watch the movie version! (1 min 45 sec)
Note: if you aren't finding enough, think of new terms, or think more broadly:
mendez v. westminster = 0 results
school* (citation and document text)
segregat* (citation and document text)
mexican* (citation and document text)
from: 1/1/1945 12/31/1948
Just a few examples of what's out there - but be careful to evaluate what you find!
Consists of more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical Library of Congress collections. The primary source and archival materials relating in the project cover topics from art and architecture to performing arts to technology and applied sciences.
American Slave: A Composite Autobiography
A digitized collection of over 2,300 narratives of former slaves. Interviews were conducted by writers and journalists as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s.
American Social History Online
Provides access to 175 digitized library collections related to U.S. social history.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. To date, over 200,000 pages of California newspapers have been digitized.
Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents
Includes the text of more than 100 historic US documents from the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact to the Truman Doctrine and the "I Have a Dream" speech.
James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center
Gateway to collections documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered history and culture, emphasizing the San Francisco Bay Area. Part of the San Francisco Public Library
Selected Historical Decennial Census Population and Census Counts. Contains historical census data from 1790-1860, 1990 & 2000; historical census statistics on the foreign-born. Print copies of the US Census (1790-2000) located in North Reading Room, 2nd floor, Doe Library, gref section, HA201 call number
Immigration... the Changing Face of America. Library of Congress collection. An introduction to the study of immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930. Web-based collection of selected historical materials documenting immigration to the US from the Harvard libraries
Making of America (Cornell University)
Access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles from 22 journals with 19th century imprints. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon the primary materials at these two institutions. The Michigan site is available at: http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/moagrp/
Making of America (University of Michigan)
Access to 9,500 books and almost 2500 digitized issues of 12 journals published in the 19th century. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon unique primary materials held at each institution. The Cornell site is available at: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/index.html
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!
It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.Using APA 6th? Purdue has produced this very handy quick guide. The fulltext of APA 6th is not available online, but we do have print copies in the EdPsych Library in reference and short term reserve at BF76.7 P83 2010
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.
As a Berkeley student you are eligible to use books and articles from other libraries around the United States.
Check OskiCat to make sure UC Berkeley does not own the material you want.
Provide a full and accurate bibliographic citation, including author, title, place and date of publication, and series. You can get citations from professors, from Melvyl, from other articles, from Google scholar. Verify your citations before submitting them for ILL.
The UCB Library sponsors the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research. Win $1000 (upper division students) or $750 (lower division students) for your research paper!
Other ways to get help: in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services
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