Refining Your Research Question and Your Search Statements
Most research questions arise from what is already known--whether by you personally or by the researchers and scholars in your field. In your early years as an historian you will need to rely on background sources to get a measure of what appears to be the accepted knowledge on your topic. Your goal is to contribute to that knowledge for future researchers.
Also, in making and revising search statements, and in making sense of search results, you will need to become familiar with the names of people, places, dates, and concepts related to your topic and your question. In many cases you will also become accustomed to searching sources for variants in names and spellings.
You can use these sources to get started on your research or to help solve problems you face later in your research.
- Dictionary of American History (10 v.)Also found on the 3rd floor of Penfield Library with call number E174 .D52 2003
- Handbook of North American Indians (13 v., more forthcoming), Ref E 77 .H25Published by Smithsonian Institution. Excellent, standard references to start with for historical information. Each volume has a regional focus. Some copies also in the circulating collection.
Background Information - World
- Dictionary of the Middle Ages (13 v.)Ref D 114 .D5 1982
- New Cambridge Modern History (14 v.), Ref D 208 .N4 1990
Background Information - Latin America
- Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican CulturesAlso available in paper copy: F1218.6 .O95 2001
Background Information - Asia & Africa
- Encyclopedia of Asian History (4 v.), Ref DS 31 .E53 1988
- Encyclopedia of African History (3v.), Ref DT20.E53 2005
- Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, (2 v.) (Ref BP40 .E525 2004)Also available in paper copy: Ref BP40 .E525 2004