Recommended Reading about Historical Research
Overview of Historical Research
The study of history is based largely on two things -- primary resources and historians' interpretations
Primary Resources -- Primary resources are an essential part of the study of history. They are the basic evidence for any historical argument. Moreover, they are as close as you can come to the actual event(s) you are researching. However, they must be examined with caution. First hand accounts often exhibit some kind of misunderstanding or distortion. Therefore, usually more than one primary source is used in comparison with others.
Books (Reference and Circulating) -- Reference books are an extremely useful first step in the study of history. They give directions on the research and writing of history, general overviews of historical topics, and/or information on how to find historical materials. You can use reference books to generate paper topics, to develop keywords, ideas and concepts related to your topic, and to find selected book and articles to get you started in your research.
Some books in the library are collections of primary resources. Generally, though, books are secondary sources, i.e. interpretations of historical events by experts in the field. These secondary sources are as essential as primary sources for the study of history builds on the work of previous and contemporary historians.
Scholarly Journal Articles -- Journal articles are also secondary sources of information. They are much shorter than books, however, and so tend to focus on much more narrow and specific topics. For example, a book might cover the history of the Crusades while a journal article might be about one specific kind of weapon used in one particular battle during the Crusades.
Indexes and Databases -- Indexes and databases give information about where to find materials. Databases are mainly full-text resources and provide the articles as well as the citations. Indexes provide only citations which tell you where to go to find the article or books they list.
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Citation Management--Using EasyBib
The EasyBib School Edition provides students with the tools to enhance critical thinking skills and research habits, learn how to prevent plagiarism, and improve information literacy.
There are several components of interest to student researchers including:
- Create Citations in APA or MLA that may be cut and pasted into Word Documents
- Export a Saved Bibliography to a Word file
- Set up Note Cards with associated references and citations for separate papers and projects.
- Keep a History that lives in the cloud of your Reference work, projects, notes and citations!
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