HIST 5023: Historical Methods

This guide assists with identifying and researching topics for historical study including how to find and use primary and secondary resources.

What can you find?

Library Special Collections include items that are rare or unique, relevant to specific research areas, and made available with an interest in preserving and protecting the materials. Here at the University of Arkansas Libraries that includes:

  • Manuscript collections
  • Broadsides
  • Maps
  • Photographs and art
  • University Archives
  • The Arkansas Collection
  • Rare books

Get Ready to Research

Review our Getting Started guide for tips on

  • locating materials
  • registering as a Special Collections user
  • requesting materials to view
  • scheduling your visit

You might also browse our topic guides:

Research Process

Here is a general approach for finding and using the various materials available in Special Collections.

  1. Pick a topic -- Identify the people, historical topics, and institutions that you will be researching and the type of material you hope to consult.
  2. Search for resources -- Utilize OneSearch, topic guides, and finding aids to identify which collections will be most suitable for your research purposes.
  3. Refine your research -- Begin to narrow your research by refining the materials you will need to access based on what will be the most useful with the time you have available.
  4. Request materials -- Decide on manuscript boxes and folders, books, theses and dissertations, maps, or other items you would like to request, keeping the policies and procedures of the Special Collections Reading Room.
  5. Obtain research copies -- Either photograph in person or request duplication of materials as needed, including copies and scans of maps and photographs.
  6. Cite your work -- Keep track of the manuscripts, images, ephemera, and published works you spend time with. Creating citation lists as you go along, either with software like Zotero or the hard way--writing them yourself--will help you organize your thoughts and save you time and frustration later.