You can't do all the research for a project of this size in one go. Here is a example of how research may fit into a semester-length project.
1) First topic idea
2) First round of research (AKA exploratory research).. Look for sources that will give you background on your topic and help you narrow it down. Books and websites are great for this.
3) Read a bunch of stuff. Work on refining your topic into a more focused thesis or research question. Don't forget to check the bibliographies of your initial findings for more sources.
4) Second round of research. Now look for more specific sources to match your refined topic. This is the point to do in-depth searches for journal articles and primary sources.
5) Outline or begin drafting the paper. As you go, you may discover you have places where you need more sources to support specific points.
6) Third round of research to fill any gaps.
7) Final draft
To find books in our library check out the Library Search on the library's home page. You can limit to books in our library as well as search for articles and primary source materials.
Here is a Library Search box that is already limited to the catalog:
While I would always start in the history databases above, I would then go to Library Search before searching any of the databases below. It searches very broadly across databases and is will bring back articles that are on your topic from fields beyond History.
When searching the library's databases, you may find articles you want that we do not have access to. You can get them for free through a service called interlibrary loan, and it usually only takes one or two days.
1. Instead of a link to a PDF below the article, you will see a link called check availability.
2. If we have the full text,the page that opens will provide a link under the "View It" heading.
3. If we don't own the full text, you can access our interlibrary loan system for articles, called ILLiad, by logging into the system using your WCU email address and password. Look for the link on the yellow bar in the middle of the page.
4. Once you log in, you will see the link to go to ILLiad.
5. If it is your first time logging into the system, it may ask you some questions about your delivery preferences.
6. The system will try to fill in the required blanks with the relevant information about the article. Double check to make sure that all the required blanks are filled. If not, go back to the tab with the article info to cut and paste the other required info.
a) type or copy/paste the title of the article into the search box. If it has a very long title, you don't need the whole thing, just enough to make it distinctive. If we have access to it, it should pop up in the first 5 or so results.
b) now use the full text link to get to the full article.
c) If it doesn't show up, we probably don't have access. Next, try clicking on the "Expand the Results Beyond My Library" link at the top of the left-hand column.
d) If it shows up now, you can use the "no full text" link to use ILLiad to get it. Remember that you may have to sign into the system before you will see the interlibrary loan options.
e) If it still doesn't show up, you can still try to request it via ILLiad, you will just need to enter everything manually.
This is very similar to finding articles, just a couple of tweaks needed to make it work better!
a) Type or copy/paste the name of the book into the Library Search Box. If it is a shorter title, put it in quotation marks.
b) For books, the results can be confusing, because often a bunch of book reviews will show up! So, go to the left-hand column under Source Type and select "books".
c) If it shows up, check to see if it is online or in print.
d) If it doesn't show up, then follow steps c, d, and e as you would for articles (above). The only difference is that you will use EZ-Borrow to request the books instead of ILLiad.