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History 5374 - Leyva

Research guide for students in History 5374 - Seminar in Borderlands History

Course Description

HIST 5374 Seminar in Borderlands History

Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva

Fall 2020

This research seminar focuses on the history of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands from 1848 through the 20th century. We will begin by studying a number of historical monographs that will provide both content knowledge and models for research design and methodology. We will spend some time exploring primary sources that will provide the basis of your research. The topic of this course is purposefully broad. If you are a Borderlands History Ph.D. student, this is an opportunity for you to explore your dissertation topic (and perhaps even write a portion of a chapter for your dissertation). If you are an MA student, you may take this time to explore a thesis topic or the topic for your expanded seminar paper. In addition to helping you hone your skills as researchers and writers, I want this course to help move you ahead in your graduate program. You may write on a topic on either or both sides of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Some of you already have a solid sense of your topic; others are still considering potential subjects. It is important for you to choose early in the semester so that you will have sufficient time to research and write a good seminar paper. By the end of the semester, you will have produced a well-researched and written original paper, 23-25 pages long.​​

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this guide emphasizes online resources. Please visit the UTEP Library's website for current policies.

Getting Started with Research

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Quality, graduate-level research takes time. Start early.
  • Always start with a keyword search in the library catalog. You might need to refine your search terms or do multiple keyword searches.
  • Click on appropriate Library of Congress subject headings in catalog records to find more sources.
  • Consult an archivist or library subject specialist.
  • If possible, call or email an archivist before you visit an archives or special collections department.
  • Start with secondary sources (i .e. books, scholarly articles, encyclopedias) for context and literature reviews.
  • Mine bibliographies of secondary sources  (i.e. see what sources historians used).
  • Take careful notes when reviewing primary and secondary sources.
  • Make sure to document where images, quotes, ideas, etc. came from.
  • Be prepared to visit multiple libraries and archives - sometimes in different cities or countries.
  • Order books via Interlibrary Loan in advance of any deadlines.
  • Proofread your papers carefully.

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