Hege Library & Learning Technologies

HIST 400: Research Seminar

Research seminar for history majors taught by Sarah Thuesen (Spring 2018).

Wikipedia and Friends

Lee Ann Ghajar, "Wikipedia: Credible Research Source or Not"

Reliability of Wikipedia



Reference Sources

Hege Library subscribes to a number of online resources that you can acccess via this guide and our web site. When using from off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your Guilford network log in information but still be able to access as if you were here in Hege Library.

Basic Research Approach

Sometimes, a structured approach to research can help to organize ideas and the way you think about information sources:

1. Explore topic basics (casual web searching and reference resources)
2. Background/history (library catalog and guides)

3. Current research (library databases: journal articles)
4. Support your argument (source citation)
5. Drafts & revisions (research librarians & learning commons)

HIST 400 requires that you make significant use of core primary sources.  Therefore, it is useful to also factor in what sources you have access to and how they might guide you in your research.  You may need to shift your focus as you delve deeper into your topic and find available sources.

  • Is your selected topic one that has readily available primary sources?  If not, is there a way you might think creatively about your topic?  For example, studying U.S. reactions to a historical event in a non-English speaking country (using U.S. based correspondence, newspaper accounts, etc.) or government policies relating to your subject (using more readily available government documents).
  • Are the sources you wish to use ones that you are able to fully study in the time you have to complete your research?
  • Consider various types of sources.  Depending upon your particular topic, you may find oral histories, films, artifacts, photographs and other non-text sources worthy of close study.

The Research Cycle

The research cycle is an iterative process, not a linear one. As you move from one step to another, you may go back to a previous step. For example, as you are searching, you may reconfigure your topic. As you analyze your sources, you may come up with more keywords for further searching. Don't be afraid to go back and refine your work - your research will be all the better for it.