- Find Information
- Research Guides
- HIS 3563 / AMS 3343: African American History to the Civil War
HIS 3563 / AMS 3343: African American History to the Civil War
- Getting Started
- Find Secondary Sources
- Find Primary Sources
- Writing & Citing
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Start with a Topic
How to Create Your Topic and Identify Keywords
Expert Search Strategies
- Pre-Search to gather ideas: Start with a broad search.
- Be a Detective! Look for clues and build a list of terms from the titles. abstracts (descriptions), and subject terms you find.
- Generate a list of keywords: synonyms, related terms, broader or narrower concepts, and words found in the pre-searching process.
- Refine and repeat! This may involve refining or narrowing your topic.
- Do some reading of articles / book chapters that interest you. Pay attention to the important who's, what's, when's, where's, how's, and why's. What arguments have other historians made?
- Follow the paper trail: Mine footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies to find more sources.
- Words matter! Use language / terminology of the time period when searching for primary sources.
Narrow Your Topic
- What specifically do you want to know about your topic?
- Who are the important individuals / organizations / populations involved in your topic?
- What specific point in history will you focus on?
- What geographic locale (state, region, city) will you focus on?
Click on the link to learn more.
- How to Create Your Topic and Identify KeywordsThis interactive tutorial walks you through the steps for choosing a topic and identifying good search terms.
Exploring a Topic and Identifying Keywords
Watch this video to learn how to use Library Quick Search to explore a topic and identify keywords. Click "Watch in Panopto" for the best video quality.
Where to Start Your Search
Library Quick Search
Library Quick Search is a good place to start to find both secondary sources and primary sources.
- Google ScholarSearches scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
- How to Use Google Scholar Off CampusDue to recent changes made by Google, you'll need to do a one-time set-up for your account to access full-text articles available through UTSA Libraries. Step by step instructions provided.
What Is Peer Review?
- Peer Review in 3 MinutesWhat is peer review? How do articles get peer reviewed? This video from North Carolina State University Libraries explains. Video reused via Creative Commons license.
Watch this video to learn how to find peer reviewed articles. Click "Watch in Panopto" for the best video quality.
How to Search Library Quick Search
- Library Quick Search TutorialThis interactive tutorial teaches you how to search effectively.
Watch this video to learn how to search for a book in Library Quick Search. Click "Watch in Panopto" for the best video quality.
Are You Looking for Primary or Secondary Sources?
Understanding Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources
It is important to consider what kind of sources you are looking for. Are you looking for primary sources? or secondary sources?
Why does this matter?
Some search engines like Library Quick Search will help you find both. Some databases are best only for secondary sources. Others are best only for primary sources.
What is the difference between a primary and a secondary source?
Click on the link to learn more.
- Understanding Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary SourcesThis interactive tutorial explains the difference between primary, secondary, & tertiary sources.