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United States History from 1877

Guide developed for Dr. Verna's Intro to U.S. History Since 1877 class. Contains resources for the study of U.S. History from Reconstruction (1865) until the 1970s.

intro to brainstorm

On this page, we will discuss the makings of a good topic and how that can drive your research journey.

WHERE TO START

I have the topic, but I'm not sure how to approach researching it... Is the Internet the best choice for my research...?

You don't need to be an expert on a topic to do a report about it.

A good place to start (especially if you don't know much about your topic), is the Library Catalog to help you find books that give you general information. Encyclopedias are good for concise explanations and contextual data. A librarian can recommend the best encyclopedias or other reference materials you may want to use.

Build on your basic information and skills. Avail yourself to information in all formats: Books (on the shelves and online); Periodicals (journal, magazine, newspaper articles both on the shelves and through databases); Digital media (videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, etc.); and even some Internet sites.

Your professor will tell you whether you are allowed to use Web sites as resources. Most people can surf the Internet and find topical information but cannot determine if what they've found is accurate, objective or up-to-date. 

For assistance on developing the most efficient research strategy and identification of local resources, contact a reference librarian at the library or via Ask Us.

STEP 3: RESEARCHING CYCLE

How to narrow a Topic