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Shapiro Library

HIS 200 - Applied History

Research guidance and support for HIS-200 Applied History research assignments.

Choose Your Own Topic


You may choose your own topic for your historical analysis essay. If you do, you can explore the resources below to begin your research!

Background research

Researching your topic in reference sources (encyclopedias, etc), or background research, is a great way to get a sense for your topic. Doing this pre-research can help you:

  • decide how you would like to narrow your topic
  • learn about the kind of language used in an unfamiliar discipline
  • help you find keywords to use in your research

Background research is usually done with reference sources or reference databases. These are encyclopedias and subject-specific dictionaries, or databases of searchable encyclopedias and dictionaries. They are rarely the kind of sources you want to include in your bibliography later on because they include facts, dates and well-established information, but don't include new information or original research. Sometimes reference sources cite interesting sources, so it's a good idea to check out their bibliographies before moving on to the next phase of your research, searching in primary source, article and eBook databases.

The databases listed below include reference sources.