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Conducting Historical Research

When conducting historical research you will want to use a variety of primary and secondary sources. 

Secondary sources

  • Written about the time period you are studying
  • Include books, journal articles, reviews, websites
  • Look for words such as "history," "analysis,"  "context"
  • Narrow your results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources to find high-quality research-based articles

Primary Sources:

  • Written or created during the time you are studying
  • Include articles, newspaper articles, pictures, data, letters, etc.
  • When searching, do not use words such as "history" or "article."  Instead, use a general key term, such as "education," and narrow down the dates to find what was being written about that topic during your time period
  • Try to use language from your time-period.  Example: "vocational education"
  • Do not narrow your results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources

For all works:

  • Consider the slant or biases of the original author or historian writing about it


Databases for Historical Research

Stout Users OnlyUse the Articles and Databases to identify articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Many databases provide full text articles.  Off-Campus Access Instructions

Primary Resources

Books at the Library

  • American Chronicle: Year by Year Through the Twentieth Century E169.1 .G664 1999 
  • American Decades E169.12 .A419 
  • The American years  E174.5 .G753 2003 
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the nineteenth century  E169.1 .E626 2001 
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the twentieth century  E740.7 .E53 1996
  • Historical statistics of the United States : earliest times to the present  HA202 .H57 2006