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Graduate-Level Historical Research

A guide for History MA and PhD students.


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.
  • And have someone else proofread your papers. 

To view UTEP Library resource and research tutorials, click here.

To view UTEP Library research guides for specific topics in history, click here.

To learn about using archives, click here.

To view a short video about how to use UTEP Special Collections, click here.


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