Introduction: How to Research for a History Project by Alexander Hauser

A guide to doing research in the History classroom by Alexander Hauser

Step 1: Determine Your Research Topic

First, you'll have to decide what exactly you will be doing research on. Sometimes this can be assigned to you and other times you're allowed to choose what it is you're doing the research on. If you're allowed to choose, try and find something that interests you so that you may learn more about it!

Step 2: Find a Database to Search for Credible Sources

Many schools allow you to search on databases through the library or EBSCOhost. These are very handy because they make it far easier to find credible sources to use as research material.

Step 3: Decide Which Sources Best Fit the Context of Your Topic

You need to make sure to choose source material that is relevant to the kind of project your making as well as the topic of the project. For example, a primary source document from the Civil War may work better for a research paper than using somebody else's research journal document.

Step 4: Read Your Sources Thoroughly

Once you've got your sources narrowed down to at least 5 or so, make sure you read those sources to at least get a mild understanding of what they are actually about. Some titles may seem relevant but can lack the actual information you're looking for in the source itself.

Step 5: Locate the Citations of the Sources

Most databases have the citations of the documents ready for you on their website. In some cases where they are not available, try using an auto citation website such as EasyBib or Citefast. You may also find it useful to learn how to write citations yourself through resources like Purdue OWL.

Step 6: Cite Your Sources Properly

Depending on the project, you may have to use a specific format such as MLA, APA, or Chicago. While MLA seems to be most commonly used overall, Chicago is generally the most used in historical research papers.