Get Background Information Fast: Beyond Wikipedia
Encyclopedias and other reference books provide excellent historical overviews that will help you put topics -- and the historians writing about them -- into context. The resources are a great way to
- Brainstorm ideas
- Narrow an existing topic
- Glean keywords for catalog and database searches
- Leverage bibliographies for the next stage of your research
Browse the history reference books. Call numbers for history begin with D and go through F975.
|D1-2027||World History (General)|
|DU1-950||Oceania (Australia; New Zealand)|
Create A Keyword List
The right keywords help to effectively search catalogs, databases, and the Internet.
- Start by compiling a list of keywords that represent each concept of your topic.
- Try the Search Generator from Northwest Missouri State University to help you create a keyword search.
- Use more specific terms when searching databases versus catalogs.
- Look for additional terms in your search results. Add these to your list.
- Search Google Books for keywords in the title, table of contents, subject headings, and text of books.
- Use the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies thesaurus to find variations of keywords and subject headings.
You may need to do multiple searches in each database to research your topic. However, with patient and persistence, you'll find relevant material.