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HIS 300 — Monty - Theory and Practice of History

Contact Information

Stewart Baker


Getting Started

Basic Library Information

Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

Off-Campus Access

Useful Books & Ebooks

Useful Databases

Themes in this class

Primary and Secondary Sources

Finding Primary Sources at CSUDH


Scholarly Internet Research

General Research Tips

Getting Started

Start your research by going to the library home page.

Site Organization:

  • Dropdown Menus - Links to all our major web pages in one convenient place.
  • Tabbed Search Box - Easy one-stop access to search books, articles, and more.
  • Quick Links - Useful links to renew your books, contact the library, and other common tasks.
  • Main Section - All the resources you need to perform your research.

Checking out books: You can see what books are available in the Torofind Library Catalog. Once you have found the books you want, bring them to the Circulation Counter on the second floor of Library North to check them out.  You will need a valid student ID card or a notification from Admissions & Records to check out books.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Torofind online catalog.

Library's Book Borrowing Policies

If the library does not have a book you need, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan!

Basic Library Information

Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH

You can get journal articles by going to the library home page and clicking the "Articles & eResources" tab in the search box area. This will give you three options:

Once you are in a database, you can start to search for your article. All databases' search options are slightly different, but they usually include several search boxes you can fill out. Most databases will also let you search only for peer-reviewed or scholarly journals. For your research papers, you will want to make sure you check this option!

Articles which you can read in that database will have a link to the PDF full text or the HTML full text. Click on that text link to read the article. Some databases also let you e-mail yourself the files by clicking on an e-mail link.

Some articles will say "Find it @ CSUDH Lib" instead of having links to the full text. If you see this, it means the text of that article is not in the database you are searching. But don't worry! By clicking the link which says this, you can see a list of which databases do have the full text. If there are no databases containing the article you want, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan.

Off-Campus Access

If you are using a computer that is on campus, you can access all of our electronic databases and ebooks without any further steps. Just click on the database name in the Database List and you will be sent immediately to the search screen.

If you are off campus, you will need to log in using your MyCSUDH Username and Password (the same thing you use to log in to Blackboard, MyCSUDH, and student e-mail). When you click on a database name from off-campus, you will see a screen asking you for this information.

After you enter your login information, you should be able to access any of our electronic databases and ebooks just like you would on campus.  If you have problems, try resetting your password.  If that doesn't work either, give the reference desk a call at (310) 243-3586 and we will help you troubleshoot.

Useful Books & Ebooks

There are plenty of books in the library on History, and on the French Revolution in particular. Try the following search in the library's online catalog and you will see a list of relevant books.

  • Go to the library's online catalog
  • In the drop-down menu to the left, select "Subject - Subject Words"
  • In the text area to the right, type in Religion -- United States -- History or, if you're interested in Europe,  Europe Religion
  • On this screen you will see a series of links that you can click with more specific subjects.
  • For a list of books, click the Religion United States History link
  • Once you have a list of books on the screen, you can sort your results with the drop-down menu at the right.
  • Select "Sort by year - newest to oldest" to see a list of books with the most recent books first.

The library also has several collections of ebooks: books that have been scanned in and which you can access from home using the library website. The main collection of ebooks is called ebrary. You can find it by clicking the "Find Journal Articles Now" header on the main library page, then selecting "E" for ebrary.

To add extra functionality to ebrary books, you can install the ebrary reader, available after logging into the database.

Links to ebooks that may be useful:

To find more, log in to ebrary and do a subject search for United States -- Religion, Europe -- Religion, or United States -- History

Useful Databases

Academic Search Premier
This multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 8,500 journals, including full text for more than 4,600 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.

JSTOR offers high-quality, interdisciplinary content to support scholarship and teaching. It includes over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.

Project Muse
200 quality journal titles from some 30 scholarly publishers. As one of the the academic community's primary electronic periodicals resources, Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.

America: History & Life
Historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present Mary Bagne, Managing Editor America: History and Life is a complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present

Historical Abstracts
Over 2,000 journals published throughout the world are covered in the database, making this a historical periodical database unmatched in breadth. In addition to including the key historical journals from virtually every major country, Historical Abstracts includes a targeted selection of hundreds of journals in the social sciences and humanities that are of special interest to researchers and students of history.

Historical Los Angeles Times (1882 - 1985)
Full-text access to the Los Angeles Times from the late 19th century to the late 20th century.

Themes in this class
In this section of the guide, I've listed several of the course's themes, along with subjects to try searching in both our online book catalogue and in our online journal article databases.

Racism and Anti-Semitism in Europe; The Dreyfus Affair
Subjects in our OPAC

Subjects in EBSCOHost databases
  • DREYFUS, Alfred, 1859-1935
  • DREYFUS, Alfred, 1859-1935 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
  • FRANCE -- History -- Third Republic, 1870-1940

Gender and Sexuality in Modernist Art and Literature; Death in Venice
Subjects in our OPAC

Subjects in EBSCOHost databases (recommend using MLA International Bibliography)
  • DEATH in Venice (Book)
  • MANN, Thomas, 1875-1955
  • MODERNISM (Aesthetics)
  • MODERNISM (Literature)

Mass Culture, Mass Politics
Subjects in our OPAC
Subjects in EBSCOHost databases
  • MASS media & culture
  • MASS media & history
  • Popular culture

Fin de Siècle Crisis
Subjects in our OPAC

Subjects in EBSCOHost databases
  • TURN of the century (19th-20th Century)
  • Intellectual life -- 19th century
  • Intellectual life -- 20th century
  • Degeneration

Primary and Secondary Sources

When you are doing research for a History class, you will be using two types of source materials: primary source materials and secondary source materials.  To effectively complete the research assignments your professors give you, it is important to understand the difference between the two types.

What is a primary source?

  • The "raw materials" of history
  • Unprocessed data or accounts of history as it happened
  • Examples include memoirs, contemporary news reports, interviews, government reports

What is a secondary source?
  • "Processed" history
  • Existing research
  • Examples include scholarly books, journal articles, presentations and papers

Why does it matter?

In Historical research, both primary and secondary sources can play an important role even at the undergraduate level.  In much undergraduate research, only secondary sources are used, as these sources have already put the material into a form that is easy to apply to the goals required by coursework.  HOwever, many post-graduate courses will require you to use entirely primary material and come to your own conclusions.

However, history especially places an equal emphasis on the two types of source materials.  History cannot be understood without primary sources--the "authentic voices" of history--but at the same time it is easier to understand the broader scope of things by looking at other people's existing research.

For instance, if you were buying a car, you would want to find out what other people who own the car think about it (secondary sources) and you would probably also want to test drive the car (primary source).  Doing one or the other would be good, but doing both would give you a much better idea of the car's quality and suitability for your needs.  The same is true in historical research.

Finding Primary Sources at CSUDH
There are several ways you can access primary source material in our catalogue and databases.

In our catalogue, the easiest way is to search as normal, and then check the subjects for the word "sources".  This is the word we use to reference primary source material as opposed to secondary sources.

You can also search for biographies and memoirs using individual's names or looking for the words "personal narrative" in a work's subject.

In our databases, the most useful source of historical primary sources is our historical LA Times database, which has newspaper articles dating back to the 1880s.  Since newspaper articles are sometimes syndicated, this historical access includes newspaper coverage from other parts of the country and--occasionally--abroad.

If you are looking for primary coverage of specific events or individuals, you can often find many resources available online through university archives and other sources.  To search just university websites using google, you can add site: .edu  to the end of your searches or use the advanced search option. 

For European materials, the most common university domain type is .ac.##, where ## is the top-level domain extension for the country you are interested in.  (e.g. .ac.uk for British universities, .ac.at for Austrian ones, etc.)  Note that you will, in most cases, need to be fluent in the language of the country in order to really make use out of their materials, and that your professor may not want you to use non-English sources--especially if he or she is not fluent in the language.

You can see a list of country top-level-domains on Wikipedia.


What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)

In essence, when you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper APA style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

For more information, see your student handbook and this handout by Sheela Pawar at CSUDH

Scholarly Internet Research

Remember, not all web sites are created equally. Some sites can be valid sources of information, but others are filled with opinion represented as fact. While there isn't a 100% effective way to figure out what kind of site you're looking at, here are some guidelines to follow when using the internet for research:

  • Check Credibility - Is it easy to figure out who's behind the information? Does whomever it is know what they're talking about? Do they have qualifications in the field or some other reason to be trust-worthy in it?
  • Check Accuracy - Are the sources cited well? Is the information up-to-date? Are there any broad, sweeping generalisations that are impossible to verify?
  • Check Reasonableness - What is the page's point-of-view? Is it a corporate page trying to sell you a product? Is it a government or educational site where the main purpose is to educate people?
  • Check Support - Is it possible to double-check the information in another location?

Useful Scholarly Websites

INFOMINE is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.

The Librarians' Internet Index aims to provide a well-organized point of access for reliable, trustworthy, librarian-selected websites, serving California, the nation, and the world. All links on the Index are selected and approved by librarians before inclusion.

For more information, check out our guide on Evaluating Web Resources

General Research Tips

Use multiple search terms - Remember, not every database or article uses exactly the same words to describe the same thing. Make sure you try several synonyms for the term you're trying to find. Most databases have a link titled "thesaurus" or "subject terms" which you can use to find out what words to search for.

Search in multiple places - The more places you look for information, the more information you're likely to find. Don't just search in one database and assume it's all you'll be able to find! Take a look at the list of Useful Databases earlier on in this page for where to start your search.

Ask for help - Don't be afraid to ask for help! Research can be an exhausting process, and sometimes a fresh perspective will make your task immensely easier. You can stop by the reference desk in the library and ask any of the reference librarians for help with your research. You can also submit an online help request which a librarian will answer within a day or two.

Don't leave it until the last minute - The earlier you start, the better your paper will be. Starting early gives you plenty of time to read and absorb the information so that you'll be properly informed when writing your paper.