Skip to Main Content
United States Military Academy Library

Department of History

Tips for Online Historical Research

 Before building your search, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What information are you looking for? Consider stating this in writing in two or three sentences.

2. Identify general concepts about the information that you are looking for, and ask how they might relate to the search terms that you might use.

3. Are you interested in a specific author’s work? If so, then that might be a very good place to start. You might use articles by this author to discover other relevant documents to satisfy your research needs.

4. Are there specific journals that publish articles related to your subject?

5. After you have located a couple of relevant documents, consider using subject headings attached to the record to locate similar records.


Additional tips:

• Make a chronology. It will be helpful when you do your outline.

• Make an index of names of people and places – check for variant spellings.

• Note date of major events. More likely to find books and articles about an event than a general time period.

• Contemporary people: Look for biographies, memoirs, and autobiographical sources. These are often the easiest way to research a time period. Look for indexes for clues to associated people, events, places and standard spellings.

Evaluating Sources

Other Useful Guides

Footer Library Logo How Do I?
USMA Library Terms of Use