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HIST 001N: Oil & Empire (SC)

History 001N: First Year Seminar - Oil & Empire - Fall 2013

Recommended Starting Points

Research help is available!

question marksThis Research Guide will point you to databases, books, primary sources, and other resources that may be useful for your project.

I would be glad to help you navigate the resources that are available to you.  Please don't hesitate to contact me about an appointment or send questions via email (selichk1). 

Here are some of the things that I can help you with (other Swarthmore librarians can as well):

  • Finding information (scholarly articles and books, primary source documents, multimedia)
  • Finding and using archives and library collections of primary sources
  • Searching specific databases
  • Improving your search skills
  • Citing sources and creating a bibliography (MLA)
  • Organizing your research (including using Zotero or Endnote)

Quick Research Tips

  1. Use relevant bibliographies.
    Once you have found a good article or book on your topic, look at the references that author cites.  You'll probably find many sources that you can use.  The author(s) may cite archival collections and primary source documents as well as scholarly books and articles.

  2. Search historically.
    Spelling, word choice, and geographic names may have been different during the time period you are researching.  So if you are searching for primary source documents, you may need to use these older spellings and terms to find relevant sources.

  3. Need background info? Try reference books.
    Print and online reference works can give you the basic historical context for your topic, and enable you to identify key participants, dates, events, and concepts. Check out the Overviews page for suggested reference works related to this course.

    To find print and online reference materials, search for your topic in Tripod. Click on the "Books and More" results, then narrow the list to "Swarthmore Reference."  (view sample results here)

    You can also browse the reference collection in the appropriate call number range--D for world history, E and F for U.S. and Latin American history. When you've found books on your topic in the general collection (books on the lower and upper levels of McCabe), you can also browse in the same call number range in the reference collection.

  4. See how often a particular article or author has been cited
    Citations provide one clue to an article or author's level of influence on their field. Use Web of Science's Social Sciences Citation Index to trace citations--just click on Cited Reference Search and search by author or title to find out how extensively someone/something has been cited. There's a similar "Cited Reference" option in America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and Google Scholar.

  5. Ask for help when you need it.
    Don't hesitate to ask a librarian or your professor for assistance with finding and analyzing sources.