GS10 Historical Investigation

Note: A list of school logins for most databases are in the Resources folder of the Dragons Research group. For JSTOR, create a personal account using the instructions found in the same folder. 

Need help citing a source in APA, MLA, or Chicago?

  • Noodle Tools: citation helper and manager for APA, MLA, and Chicago style citations; NOTE: Carefully assess the source on your screen to determine exactly what type of source it is (e.g., news article, journal article, research report, etc.) – your ability to identify the source type correctly is an essential first step in creating an accurate citation
  • Chicago Manual of Style Online (on-campus access only)
  • Chicago guide from Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) 

What is your research need OR what type of source are you looking for?

Tip: What do you wonder about your topic? Jot down your questions, then investigate them through reading. As you read, seek to understand your topic, expand your vocabulary about it, and identify subtopics and/or arguments. Pause periodically to reflect on what you understand and what you wonder, then strategize about what to do next.


Begin to understand a topic – Reference sources
 (e.g., topic overviews, case overviews, biographies, etc.)

In library databases

Note: The first two databases below are also searched when you use PowerSearch; however, by searching them directly, you may find relevant results faster.

  • World History in Context: focused on World History; for an overview of a topic, focus on results in the reference results, including topic overviews and case overviews; in PowerSearch, most reference articles from this database are in the group of search results labeled Books
  • Gale eBooks: use one word or phrase to search; articles and chapters from these books are included in PowerSearch, but in this direct interface you have the option to search within a specific subset of reference books 
  • Explora: reference content includes topic overviews, encyclopedia articles, and introductions, prefaces, or chapters within some e-books; on the left menu, you may narrow results by Source Type
  • PowerSearch (all-in-one search of Gale eBooks, General OneFile, US History in Context, and World History in Context): reference articles appear under Books; on the right, you may narrow results by Document Type (e.g., topic overviews, case overviews, biographies)
  • Oxford Handbooks Online – handbooks provide scholarly-level insight into a particular apsect of a topic, so you will usually want to read several general reference sources before reading a handbook article
  • Salem Press Reference: includes ebooks about human migration and immigration

On the open web

  • Encyclopedia Iranica – international collaborative project based at Columbia U
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 
  • MENA Guide (Illinois University Library) – useful resource for becoming familiar with reference info and news related to specific countries in the MENA region; includes list of NGO’s for each country

Consider many sides of a policy issue – Contrasting viewpoints

  • Explora: if your search results includes sources in Source Type = Trade Publications (see left menu), they may provide an industry/profession perspective on the topic (e.g., energy industry); Explora also includes several magazines with a political bias (e.g., The Nation and The National Review) or other slants
  • PowerSearch: when narrowing News or Magazine results, look for Document Types (on right) such as editorials, columns, or commentary; when narrowing Book results, look for viewpoint essays (if Books look promising, you may wish to search Gale eBooks directly)
  • Issues Researcher: designed for finding an array of viewpoints about U.S. public policy issues, but may be useful for some topics related to the Middle East.

Find news coverage of a topic – News or magazine articles

  • PowerSearch: Magazines and news results may be narrowed by Document Type (e.g., feature, columns, editorials); includes many magazines with a particular agenda/bias
  • Explora – Contains several news magazines as well as many magazines with a particular agenda/bias; offers the option to limit results to trade publications, a valuable filter if an industry perspective is important to you
  • Google News – includes articles and posts from news channels, newspapers, blogs, and other news sources; if you’re signed in to your Google account, you may customize Google News
  • MENA Guide (Illinois University Library) – useful resource for becoming familiar with reference info and news related to specific countries in the MENA region; includes list of NGO’s for each country

See how a topic was covered in a time before now – Historical news coverage

  • Historical Newspapers –  historical news articles from the New York Times (1851-2014), Guardian & Observer (1791-2003), and Wall Street Journal (1889-2002). To focus your search on historical newspapers, click Databases (4), REMOVE the check in front of Genderwatch, then click USE selected databases. 

selectdatabases_proquest

  • PowerSearch (all-in-one search tool for Gale eBooks, General OneFile, US History in Context, and World History in Context): newspaper coverage from now back to the mid-1980’s from local, regional, and national newspapers, news magazines (some with an agenda/bias), and from some news sources outside the United States
  • Explora: news coverage from now back to the mid-1980’s from numerous news magazines, including some with a particular bias/agenda

Analyze how a topic is discussed by scholars – Scholarly journal articles

TipBEFORE searching for scholarly sources, develop an understanding of your topic, be familiar with the vocabulary used to discuss it, and have a working list of related topics and subtopics.
  • JSTOR – archive of scholarly journals, as well as pamphlets and open access books; as an archive, JSTOR’s focus is on older content, so the most recent three to five years of journal coverage is not included in JSTOR; however, the coverage may go back as far as the 1800’s if the publication has been in print that long
  • Explora – scholarly journals from across many subjects/disciplines, including some current coverage; some journal backfiles may go back as far as the mid-1980’s
  • PowerSearch – scholarly journals from across many subjects/disciplines, including some current coverage; some journal backfiles may go back as far as the mid-1980’s
  • Genderwatch – scholarly journals, dissertations, and other content focused on gender and sexuality issues, including some current coverage
  • Google Scholar – reports, older journal articles, and a wide array of sources
  • Microsoft Academic Research – similar to Google Scholar

Examine what was experienced near the time an event happened – Primary sources

In library databases

  • See Historical Newspapers section above
  • World History in Context: focused on World History; for an overview of a topic, focus on results in the reference results, including topic overviews and case overviews; in PowerSearch, most reference articles from this database are in the group of search results labeled Books
  • JSTOR – British pamphlets are primary sources, as are some of the older scholarly journals depending on topic
  • PowerSearch – scholarly journals from across many subjects/disciplines, including some current coverage; some journal backfiles may go back as far as the mid-1980’s
  • Genderwatch – scholarly journals, dissertations, and other content focused on gender and sexuality issues, including some current coverage

On the open web

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