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What are you researching?
Choose your class/subject:
Narrowing a Topic
One of the most important steps in the research process is narrowing your topic and figuring out how to communicate with websites, databases, and search engines to find what you're looking for.
Start your research With Background Sources! Learn basic facts about your topic using encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other book sources.
Best Places to Start
Gale Ebooks Formerly: Gale Virtual Reference Library. Includes subject encyclopedias, reference sources, and other ebooks.
SAGE Knowledge 5100+ e-books in the social sciences. Includes scholarly monographs, reference works (encyclopedias & handbooks), professional development titles, and textbooks.
World Geography Comprehensive information on countries worldwide, including geography, politics, socioeconomics, & culture
Biography In Context Authoritative biographies of both contemporary and historical figures. Continuously updated, find people based on occupation, role, historical period, nationality, and other characteristics.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. by A multicultural biographical source that covers notable individuals from every part of the world and from all time periods who have made significant contributions to human culture.
Publication Date: 2004
What is a primary source?
A primary source (also called an original source) is an eyewitness account, diary, article, or any other source of information that was created at the time. For example, if you are studying the American Revolution, an article from a newspaper written during the 1770s would be a primary source on the topic, as would a diary entry from a soldier at one of the battles. Historical documents are often our best sources for primary information.
Primary Sources Databases and Books
American Decades Primary Sources by Cross-disciplinary source spanning the 20th century. Each volume in the set includes full or excerpted primary sources representing the seminal issues, themes, movements and events from a decade. Includes oral histories, songs, speeches, advertisements, TV, play and movie scripts, letters, laws, legal decisions, newspaper articles, cartoons, recipes, and more.
Publication Date: 2003-12-05
American Decades Primary Sources, v. 11: 2000-2009 by This is the 11th volume in the American Decades Primary Sources series, covering the first decade of the 21st century. This is a cross-disciplinary source for researchers who need a single, consistent reference to explore and analyze the events, people and social trends that have impacted contemporary history. It covers world events, the arts, business and the economy, education, fashion, government and politics, law and justice, lifestyles and social trends, media, medicine and health, religion, science and technology, and sports.
Publication Date: 2013-06-15
Historic Documents Published since 1972, each annual edition contains primary sources covering the most significant events of the year, including presidential speeches, international
agreements, Supreme Court decisions, U.S. government reports, scientific
findings, & cultural discussions.
GovInfo A service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) that provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. Replaced the FDsys website.
Look for newspapers written during the time period you are writing about to find reactions and opinions from the same era.
Statistics help us to support our arguments with data. They allow us to see trends and make predictions.
Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics by Information and ready-to-use facts from the fields of measurement and statistics. Specifically designed to appeal to beginning and intermediate-level students, practitioners, researchers, and consumers of information.
Publication Date: 2007
The Concise Encyclopedia of Statistics by Presents the essential information about statistical tests, concepts, and analytical methods. Entries include definitions, history, mathematical details, limitations, examples, references, and further readings.
Publication Date: 2008
UN data Provides access to a large number of statistical databases compiled by United Nations member countries for 70+ years covering a wide range of themes, including crimes, education, employment, energy, health, industry, refugees, tourism, trade, and more. Has country and regional profiles.
CIA World Factbook by Offers complete and up-to-date information on the world's nations. Contains data on the politics, populations, military expenditures, economics, literacy rates, and more for each country.
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