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Bethel Libraries

HIS300 American Beginnings Research Guide

Guide to finding primary sources and contextual information for the period up to 1790

Feeling challenged as you look for good information sources?

Since conducting research can often seem a bit like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hydrant, this guide is available to help jump start your research by providing selected resources in which to search.

Man Flipping Through Pages

Looking for ideas about how to conduct research?

1.  Analyze your information need

  • Write a question or statement about your chosen topic
  • Identify key words and phrases that describe your topic
  • Determine:
    • The level of coverage and depth of the information needed
    • The type of information needed
    • How much information you need
    • The currency of the information needed
    • How soon you need the information
    • What disciplines or groups would be researching and writing about your topic

2.  Select the best information sources for your paper/project/presentation

  • Books (including eBooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)    
  • Articles from journals, magazines, or newspapers
  • Primary sources
  • Videos, audios
  • Images
  • Websites

3.  Select the appropriate resource in which to search

  • Click on the Reference link to search for dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.
  • Click on the Books & eBooks link to search for books, eBooks, videos, & audios
  • Click on the Articles link to search for journal and newspaper articles
  • Click on the Primary Sources link to search for primary information sources
  • Click on the Media link to search for images or streaming videos/audios

4.  Conduct effective, efficient searches using "smart searching" techniques

5.  Determine the relevance and reliability of the sources located

6.  Develop a working bibliography/reference list 
     (RefWorks can help with this!)

7.  Physically locate the desired material 
     (Sometimes this may mean requesting from another library)

8.  Read and think critically about your sources

9.  Write/develop an effective research paper/project/presentation

10.  Correctly cite the sources you used
       (e.g. using Turabian citation style) 
       (RefWorks can help with this too!)

Need help identifying a citation?

Have you found a citation for an information source, but can't tell if it's for a book, a chapter in a book, a journal article, or what?

Check out this guide for Decoding Bibliographic Citations!

Looking for assistance with evaluating information sources?

Need help determining the relevance and reliability of an information source you found? 

Check out this guide for Evaluating Sources of Information!

Careers in History

The American Historial Association provides some great ideas regarding Careers for Students of History

American Historical Association