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* History

Sources for the study of history at the University of Rochester
Helpful Tips

When searching for a scholarly article...

  • Choose an appropriate database for your area of interest
  • Use the database filters to limit your search to journal articles and peer-reviewed sources
  • Search for broad themes, places, or events as subject terms
    (e.g. Imperialism or "West Africa" or "Mexican Revolution")
  • Look at the notes or bibliography section of relevant articles to find other articles or journals of interest

Help is Available!

Lara Nicosia is the liaison librarian for African and African American Studies, History, and Religion & Classics and she is always happy to help!

What is a Scholarly Source?

Scholarly sources are written by experts as a way to communicate their research findings and ideas to other scholars and researchers in the field.  Typically published in books and journals, scholarly sources (also called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed sources) contain new and original research, while also building on the research of others.  These sources typically undergo a rigorous publication process that includes a peer-review system in which other content experts provide feedback on an article's content and methodology before the article is accepted for publication.

Using scholarly articles can help you:

  • Build context around your topic and find evidence to support your arguments or ideas
  • Interpret and analyze primary sources or historical events effectively
  • Understand the scholarly conversation that already exists on a topic
  • Identify other sources or authors that might be relevant to your research
  • Develop your skills at assessing research material in the field

It is important to recognize that there is a long history of systemic biases within the scholarly publishing process. Students and scholars should strive to bring diverse voices, viewpoints, and thought into their research, which may require looking beyond "traditional" academic resources – be creative! Less "traditional" source-types can work in conjunction with "traditional" academic literature to add a much deeper level of understanding for your topic and ideas. For suggestions on where to find diverse voices for your topic, reach out to your librarian.

For an example of the peer-review process, check out the Journal of American History (March 1997) – it includes Referees' Reports for Joel Williamson's article, "Wounds Not Scars: Lynching, the National Conscience, and the American Historian."

Databases with Scholarly Articles

Icon of a magnifying glass with a document

The University of Rochester provides access to a wide array of databases including many focused on history.  The databases listed below represent some of the most commonly used tools for history research and serve as a good starting point for almost any topic or research question. If you need help searching in any of these databases, remember you can always reach out to a librarian!

History Databases

Multidisciplinary Databases