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HIST 117 / WMNST 117: Women in United States History

Dr. Gallagher

Getting Started with Your Research

Start gathering information on your historical figure from these databases. Write down important dates, names, and events. Be sure to look at the bibliographies at the end of the articles in these encyclopedias. They will give you titles of biographies and autobiographies which you can search for in LionSearch

What are Primary Sources?

Finding Primary Sources

Finding primary sources doesn't have to be hard. Use the information you gathered in the encyclopedia articles and books at the top of this guide to search the databases in this section.

For example, if you use the advanced search in the National Archives to look up "Earhart, Amelia" with the dates 1930-1940, you get photographs, letters, and a U.S. Navy report of the search for her. These are all primary sources you can use in your research. 


  • Use the Keyword function and combine terms to search on a topic then use the subject headings from relevant books for additional search terms. Try searching "biography + last name" for biographies on your historical figure. (example: biography + Earhart) 
  • Write down the call number and location for any book you want. If the item is not at your campus use the "I Want It" button to request it. 
  • For electronic books, click the link under the words "online content" to access the full text
  • Review these Search Tips for more help