History is a topic with broad interest that extends beyond history scholars. For this reason, you must pay particular attention to the quality and audience of the sources you will use in your research. Look for substantial sources that clearly display indicators of scholarliness:
Compare the three sources below. How can you tell the first two sources are scholarly and the third one is not?
Books are often the best starting point for studying a historical topic that is new to you.
Journal articles are more narrow in their focus and are often a good option once you have a basic understanding of a the broader topic/issue.
LibrarySearch is the best way to find print and electronic books and articles at MRU
LibrarySearch isn't always searching inside the books and articles themselves, so you may find additional sources by searching more broadly for the issue/time period into which your topic might fall (e.g., searching for "cold war" "united states" if a search for "cold war" "united states" espionage was unsuccessful). Within the search results, look at the item descriptions, chapter headings, and check the indexes to see if your narrower topic of espionage and Cold War America is discussed.
For some topics, it can be difficult to find narrow a topic successfully via your search terms. if adding a relevant search term to your query doesn't seem to narrow things down, limit your search by selecting Subject from the options on the right side, then choose a relevant subject tag from the list of options.
Did you know you can lock your filters in place in Library Search? Hover your cursor over the limit and click to look it in place. Now, even if you change your search terms, the limit will stay in place.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with results in LibrarySearch you can try some of the following journal article databases which search fewer, but potentially more relevant, journals.
Use the same strategies you used in LibrarySearch, and be sure to use the advanced search options and filters to improve results.