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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.
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.
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.
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 ISI's Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science) 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 (EBSCO), Historical Abstracts (ABC-CLIO), and Google Scholar.
Ask for help when you need it.
Don't hesitate to ask a librarian or your professor for assistance with finding and analyzing sources.