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Research Guides@Tufts

History (General)

This research guide is intended as a starting point for historical research.

How to Use This Guide

Welcome to the Tisch Library guide to historical research!

This guide is organized by types of resources:

  • Reference sources - A reference source is a scholarly discussion that summarizes and synthesizes secondary sources. Typically, a reference source does not contain original research. These sources provide important background and contextual information on your subject. Reference sources include bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. You can use this type of source to help narrow your research topic, find data to support your thesis, and identify keywords and main ideas to use as search terms.
  • Primary sources - A primary source is a document, image, artifact, or dataset that provides first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning the object of research. Primary sources may include, but are not limited to, artwork, correspondence, diaries, interviews, literary texts, material artifacts, newspapers, speeches, statistics, and videos. Primary sources are useful for providing evidence on your topic.
  • Secondary sources - A secondary source is a scholarly discussion based on primary sources. Typically, a secondary source contains original research. Secondary sources include articles, blogs, books, lectures, podcasts, and scientific reports. Secondary sources are useful for in-depth analysis of your topic and for learning about scholarly perspectives on your topic.

The Research Process

Every research project is unique, and the research process is not linear. However, the following outline of the research process will help you to be an effective researcher.