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History Research Guide

What is your research need?

Before you begin your research there a a few things to reflect upon and determine:

  • What is the nature of the assignment? Is it a paper, project, or presentation?
  • Have you been assigned a topic or do you need to develop one?
    • If you need to develop a topic, how will you go about it?
  • Once you have a topic ask yourself, "What are the questions I need to answer?"
  • What is the scope of the assignment; how much information will you need?
  • What type of information is needed?
  • Do you understand the difference between primary and secondary information?
  • Where should you look for the needed information?
  • How will you find the needed information? What search terms and strategy will you use?
  • How will you organize your paper, project, or presentation?
    • Create an outline to help keep your product organized.
    • Keep track of your references/citations.
    • Use a consistent citation style

The more time you dedicate to thinking about and answering the above questions the better prepared you will be to begin. Remember to be organized and methodical throughout your research project. Refer to the resources on this page to help you gain a deeper understanding of historical research.

For further reading you may consult the RUSA Information Literacy Competencies for Undergraduate History Students

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