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History 3356 - Sources and Strategies for Historical Research

Scholarly Secondary Sources for History

Types of Scholarly Secondary Sources

Scholarly monographs: Book length scholarly works that discuss a single topic in depth, present original research, and are written by a single author (or occasionally co-authors). Monographs are great for offering both breadth and depth on a particular topic. 

Edited collections: Book length scholarly works that are organized by an editor(s), where each chapter is an essay written by a different person presenting their own research, and where the chapters offer different perspectives on a common academic theme. 

Scholarly journal articles: A shorter scholarly work (~10-30 pages) published in a single issue of a scholarly journal (which is published on an on-going basis). Journal articles tend to focus on a very narrow aspect of a larger topic.


Scholarly Sources for History 10:00 min
Recognizing and finding scholarly books and articles. Skip straight to using MRU LibrarySearch: 3:33


Use the MRU LibrarySearch tool - the search box on the library homepage to find at books and journal articles on your topic. 

Try limiting searches by:

  • using the sidebar options (e.g. limit results to only relevant subjects, or to preferred resource type, e.g., books)
  • using the advanced search to search for important terms in the subject or title fields on the drop-down menus.
  • refining results to only peer-reviewed sources (searches only within scholarly journals)
  • to find edited collections, try adding the term editor to your search
  • Sign in for enhanced results, to save "pinned" favourites lists and search queries.

Find Journal Articles in a History Database

If you are still looking for relevant information, or are feeling overwhelmed by LibrarySearch results, a history-specific database may help.

America History and Life covers American AND Canadian topics and is the leading research tool for Canadian history studies.

This University of Guelph video applies directly to using this database at MRU. 2:07 min.

More tips for America History & Life - Try the Advanced Search in the history databases above, where you can:

  • Limit searches by historical time period
  • Search for terms in the title, subject or abstract of articles
  • Exclude book review results or results in languages you are unable to read

Historical Primary Sources

Primary Sources for History

Video Chapters
1:42 - General tips for finding primary sources
4:03 - Finding primary sources in MRU LibrarySearch
5:29 - Finding primary sources via Google
6:55 - Finding primary sources via MRU History Guide, including historical newspapers


Visit the Primary Sources tab of this guide for more advice and access to MRU's digital primary source collections. 



Chicago Style Citation

Chicago Style Citation Tools at MRU - includes how-to guides and examples for Chicago style, as well as instructions for inserting footnotes. 


Alice Swabey's picture
Alice Swabey
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