Research Tips for History Students lib.utsa.edu

Follow these expert tips to make the most of your research and save time.


Research is a process of continual refinement. Start with an idea and work your way down to a manageable topic by pre-searching and reading.

Brainstorm Keywords

Brainstorm multiple keywords for searching: synonyms, broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms.

Find Keyword Clues

Find additional terms by looking for clues in catalog and database records: abstracts, descriptors, subject headings, index terms.

Click to enlarge this database entry

Words Matter

Keep in mind, the terminology we use in the present (in secondary sources) may not be the same as the words used in the past (in primary sources).

Keep a Research Journal

Keep a research journal. Make note of which databases you have searched and what terms you’ve used. What’s been successful and what has not?

Follow the Paper Trail

Follow the paper trail. Mine footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies to find other sources (secondary and primary).

Ask for Help

Ask a Librarian! Get to know your History Librarian, Shari Salisbury. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance in brainstorming keywords and using databases.

Created By
Shari Salisbury


Created with images by Michael D Beckwith - "Here is a photograph taken from the Picton Reading Room inside Liverpool Central Library. Located in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. Website : www.michaeldbeckwith.com Email : michael@michaeldbeckwith.com" • AbsolutVision - "Things to do" • Per Lööv - "Brainstorming ideas with post-it notes" • Maksym Kaharlytskyi - "The Files" • George Kourounis - "untitled image" • Tom Rogerson - "Writings of Ulleri" • KAL VISUALS - "Planning the day at Crater Lake National Park" • John-Mark Smith - "untitled image"