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HIST 210: Biopower (HC)

History 210: Biopower (Graham & Hayton) Spring 2022

Using Journal Articles

Selecting Journal Articles

Where was the article published?  Does it come from a scholarly journal published by a university or connected with an organization for researchers?

What is the author's main argument?  See the accompanying abstract or skim the first page or two of the article.

What are the author's qualifications?   Look at the brief biographical sketch accompanying the article or check the web.  What other articles and books has the author published?

When was the article published?  Are there more recent articles that may incorporate newer evidence and interpretations?


Reading Journal Articles Critically

How does the author summarize previous scholarship on the questions involved?  Thinking about this will add to your understanding of the broader historical context. 

What disciplinary approach/es does the author take?  For example, is the article written from the point of view of history or art?  Are there interpretations from additional academic areas, like political science or law, introduced within an article that explores a particular question in history?

What makes this author's argument significant?   What new ideas does this article offer? 

What kinds of primary texts or visual sources does the author use?  What evidence does the author offer to support the argument and how does the author interpret that evidence?

What are the author's conclusions?  What concluding ideas does the author draws from their argument.  Do you find it convincing?  Are there questions that were not fully answered?

Indexes for History

Journal articles provide in-depth scholarly information.  They are vetted and improved by peer review.  They are usually fairly short in length and often focused on discussing one specific issue.  They are well documented with footnotes citing relevant scholarship and primary sources. The indexes listed below are good places to find journal articles about history.

When you find an article of interest, if the full text is not immediately available, use the Find It button   to check for Haverford's holdings.  If we do not have a subscription for that journal, you will be able to request a digital copy.

See the Search Tips tab for examples of ways to develop terminology and construct search statements for journal index searching.

Indexes for Related Subject Areas

Journal Indexes for World Regions and Cultural Groups

Tracking Citations Forward in Time

Usually researchers find more sources by looking at the footnotes in an article or book, but these will always be older than the publication you have in hand.  
Citation indexes like the Web of Science (which includes sections for the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Science) are set up to search for sources cited in the footnotes of journal articles as soon as they become available. 

This allows you to find newer articles which cite the books and articles you already know are key for your topic.  By relying on connections between authors rather than subject words and by moving forward in time, citation searching can open up new avenues of research.

See this tutorial for more information on cited reference searching.