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History Courses & Research

HIstorical research for history majors: Reference sources

Getting started for history majors

Upgrade your skills

Upgrade from merely skimming encyclopedias for ideas or only mining the recommended reading list--historians analyze encyclopedia articles closely to understand the context of their topic and identify where a topic is either explored or unexplored (which one you choose depends on your goals).

Notice different types of encyclopedias

Start noticing the different types of encyclopedias available to historians. There are more types than general, such as Encyclopedia Britannica (which is still useful); if you search Credo Reference, you'll see all types show up in the results, and you'll need to know what you're seeing.

Examples of different types:

Below are linked a few different kinds of encyclopedias--read the descriptions to understand the purpose.

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