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.

Books as Primary Sources?

Published memoirs, letters, diaries, and collections of source documents can serve as primary sources, depending on your topic. Beyond these "first person accounts,"  books published at the time of your topic can reveal a great deal about the attitudes and assumptions of the time.

Search Strategies for Books

Try to add terms such as "sources," "personal narratives," "memoirs," or "correspondence" to your search terms to locate published sources, for example:

african americans arkansas sources south* race relations sources
great depression personal narratives railroads personal narratives


To find books by particular persons or organizations, such under that person's name as author, for example:

mcmath, sid women's emergency committee
caraway, hattie southern tenant farmer's union


Use the date limits in the UA Library Catalog and other catalogs to find books published at the time of your topic, for example:

agriculture arkansas > published between 1900 and 1930
race relations southern states > published between 1900 and 1930

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