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History: American


Welcome to the American History LibGuide!
Navigate the tabs on the side of the page to get in-depth help with researching primary and secondary sources. Need further help?
Feel free to send me an email!

Getting Started

The process of conducting research is supposed to spark curiosity and set you on a path of exploration. Research is not a linear process. It requires a constant evaluation of your sources, rethinking what search terms to use, and thinking beyond your discipline.
Steps for the Research Process:
1. Think of an idea or topic that interests you or an area you would like to explore more. 
2. Develop a research question or idea you want to explore -- Example: How did American culture, practices, and beliefs influence territorial occupations?
3. Conduct background research in Google or Credo to find common phrases, events, or words.
4. Develop keywords. Think about how you can narrow and focus your research question. My example question is a tad broad...How can I narrow it down? -- Example: Public Health Policies AND Philippines; American Colonization AND Philippines
5. Begin searching for secondary sources (See additional tabs)
6. Begin searching for primary sources (See additional tabs)
7. By analyzing your sources, what argument or thesis statement can you create to help answer your initial question? 


What are scholarly sources?

Is this peer-reviewed? I can't tell...

1. Limit your search to peer-reviewed articles only within DelCat (our catalog) and in databases! Sometimes this is referred as a scholarly article. 
2. Some databases have a link that will tell you more information about the journal, including if it is peer-reviewed!
3. Search for the journal title online and look at the publication process for submission...Does it say peer-reviewed in the description? Does it state a submitted article will go to readers? 

4. Peer-review generally is applied to articles and not books; however, books published by university presses almost always undergo a peer review process. University presses generally have two to three independent reviewers take a first pass through the book, then the press' editorial review board does a final review. You can find out who the publisher is for a book by going to DELCAT, clicking on the title of the book then scroll down to the page to find the section that says "Publication."

5. When in doubt? Talk to a Librarian!