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HIST 260-1: Colonial Latin American History: Getting Started

History of Latin America in the Colonial Period 1492-1821, Prof. Van Oosterhout

Subject Specialist

Michelle Guittar's picture
Michelle Guittar
Main Library
Northwestern University
1970 Campus Dr
Evanston, IL 60208

Using Scholarly Sources

Historical Research Process

The research process shouldn't be thought of as a straight line, from thesis statement to conclusion. Research can and should inform and change your research question, and it can be helpful to go from reference material, to books, to articles, to primary sources, and back again.

research process

Sources can provide different sorts of value to your research, depending on where they fall in the research cycle. More details about the differences between books, articles, and primary sources and where to find them are on the tabs above, but you can also think of sources as offering different kinds of information, from more general to more specific. This spectrum of general-to-specific information also correlates with availability, from more-accessible to more-exclusive sources. 

pyramid of sources

Choosing Keywords

Getting started on your research? This video will show you how to come up with keywords based on your research topic.