Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research. Reference works include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other sources that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for further reading.
Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading. A number of the handbooks may be helpful depending on your research topic. Volumes in the series include the Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning and the Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History.
A scholarly encyclopedia of potentially great use in the early stages of your research project. Each article has a discussion of the literature, including primary sources. A great starting point for finding more sources; arranged into subject areas including Urban History. A few examples of potentially helpful articles are:
"The Asian American Movement" by Daryl Joji Maeda
"The Black Freedom Struggle in the Urban North" by Thomas J. Sugrue
"The Central Business District in American Cities" by Emily Remus
"Climate Change and the American City" by Andrew Hurley
"Deindustrialization and the Postindustrial City, 1950-Present" by Chloe E. Taft
Includes scholarly journal articles and monographs as well as reference works. Often a single chapter or two within a reference work can provide a helpful starting point for research. Titles include A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, A Companion to Post-1945 America, and (for potential general or comparative reference) The New Blackwell Companion to the City.
The following bibliographic databases will be helpful for finding secondary sources, especially scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles, magazine articles, book reviews, and citations to book chapters and edited collections of books. Please note: the full text of articles will not always be available in these databases. If you see the "YaleLinks" icon instead of a PDF, click on the icon to discover whether we have online access to the article: