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HIST 3372 / HIST 5380: Historiography

Get started researching topics in historiography.


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Kristina Claunch
Library (NGL) Room 223G

JSTOR Video Tutorials

These video tutorials are provided by JSTOR and provide some demonstrations of basic and advanced searching techniques.

TIP: Watch videos in full-screen mode after clicking Play: click the box-shaped icon in the lower right corner of the video player.

Basic Searching in JSTOR

Advanced Searching in JSTOR

Some Introduction to JSTOR

  • Huge collection of journal articles, representing multiple centuries and numerous languages/countries.
  • Full-text PDFs of (almost) all results.
  • Searches the full-text of the article, plus title, author, and publication information.
  • Contains almost no other metadata, that is, details which describe the article, such as keywords which tell you its topic or themes.

Setting Up Your Search

  • 99.99% of the time, use Advanced Search.

  • Generally, check the box for "Articles" (unless you are specifically searching for book reviews or 17th-19th century British pamphlets).

  • If you want results from a particular time period (such as the 1940s), use the Date Range boxes to enter a start and end year.

  • Generally, select "English" as the language (unless you do fluently read another of the languages listed).

  • Check the boxes for approximately 1 to 4 subject areas from the list provided. This really does help cut down on irrelevant results.
    • History is a given, and may be the only one you need.
    • Other relevant subjects will depend on what you are researching, but may include Latin American Studies, Asian Studies, or similar.

Entering Search Terms

  • Start with a specific, focused search and only work out towards a more general search if necessary. In most cases, you will drown in results if you try to start with an unfocused general search.

  • Put phrases in quotation marks, for instance, "Civil War" but not single words, like war.

  • Use the language of the time period of the documents that you hope to find. JSTOR does not contain much metadata (see above), so you are basically only searching the text of the article itself. That means an article written in 1902 may use very different language than an article written in 2002, and you may not find both of those documents with the same search terms. Give some thought to what you hope to find, and try to structure your search (or a series of multiple searches) accordingly.


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