Starting Your Research
Start your research with reference resources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. These subject-specific resources are often written by experts and specialists in the field of economics and they provide important background information that can guide your research.
This is a selection of reference resources that are available online. Many more resources are available in print and online and may be found by searching Chinook or looking under the heading History - General, Reference Sources in Find Articles & More.
The ABC-Clio eBook Collection, formerly History Reference Online, includes the full text of hundreds of reference titles on a great variety of historical subjects from a well-known publisher of history reference works. CU
Reference Universe allows you to search for terms in article titles and book indexes from a staggering array of both print and electronic reference resources and also to restrict your search to those available in the CU Libraries. CU
Tips for Developing a Search Strategy
Before starting your search, break your topic down into discrete concepts that represent the major aspects. These concepts will be used to develop search terms, that is, significant words or phrases (nouns or noun phrases work best) that can be used when searching in online catalogs or databases. These terms will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve. For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms - synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms. The Search Strategy Process Worksheet can be quite helpful in helping you develop search terms for your own topic.
- Thinking of terms couched in the language of the time period you are studying is particularly important for searching in full-text, primary-source databases. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a great resource for finding these terms.
- Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, e.g. using "19th century" and "Victorian period" or using "United States" in the Making of America database
- Adding terms that represent geographical distinctions, time periods, or significant figures associated with your topic may be useful
- AND: massacres AND indian AND frontier (must find all terms)
- OR: Ute OR Arapaho (must find one of the terms)
- NOT: Colorado NOT Denver (must find first term NOT second term)
- Phrases: “Mountain West” (must find that phrase in that order)
- Synonyms: (Ute OR Arapaho) AND massacres
- Truncation and wildcards:
atrocit* will find atrocity and atrocities
wom?n will find woman and women
Once you've selected your search terms, think critically about what kind of information resources you need and select appropriate indexes and databases in which to search for material.
This step is crucial to efficient identification of quality primary and secondary sources for your research. Are you looking for primary or secondary sources? Covering what area of the world? During what time period? Find Articles & More History lists a selection of databases by type of sources and geographic area.
You can locate primary and secondary sources for your research in the Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. Chinook Classic contains books, journals, microforms and other materials but NOT articles. Also, sometimes records for individual primary sources contained in electronic databases or microform sets are in Chinook, but most often the intellectual contents are only available in the databases themselves or through microform collection guides (see "Primary Sources on Microforms" below for more information).
As you search Chinook, you will notice that materials may have different locations in the Libraries' system, including Norlin Stacks, PASCAL offsite, Government Information, Special Collections, and Archives. If you are wondering where these locations are, you can consult campus library maps and floor plans. Also, if you click on the location link in the Chinook record in question, you will see the location on a map and/or receive more information about it.
You can locate most relevant items in the Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. There are many primary sources available in the Libraries, including documents (books, letters, etc.) from the period under study, as well as electronic, microform, and printed collections of these documents published at a later date.
Do an Advanced Keyword search on your topic. Notice that you can specify language, location, material type, and year, among other limits. You will get a mixed bag of results including both primary and secondary sources.
There are several ways to limit your search to primary sources:
- Add one of the special subject terms that identify primary sources to your search: sources (more general), correspondence, diaries, narratives, pamphlets, speeches, letters, documents, etc.
- Do an Advanced Keyword search again and try limiting the dates of publication by year, entering the dates bounding your time period. For this search, leave off any special subject terms identifying primary sources from the previous search.
- Another approach is to do an Author search for books written by key participants (people or organizations) in the events you are investigating.
Please note: none of these strategies will net all primary sources, nor will their results necessarily be entirely exclusive of one another. But they will help you identify subsets of primary sources on your topic owned by the Libraries.
The following tips will help you make the most of your Chinook searching.
- Once you have found a useful item on your topic, take note of the Subjects listed in the item's full Chinook record. Click on these links to find related materials.
- If an item is checked out or we do not own it, search the Prospector consortial catalog by clicking the brown "Search Prospector to find it in another library" button that will appear on the left. You can order a copy of what you want online if is available in another Prospector library. Circulation will contact you when it is available for pick-up.
- With journals, be sure to look at the holdings information to make sure we own/offer access to the volume and issue you need. See the section on PASCAL for electronic delivery of articles.
- Use the "Journals/Serials" search to limit your search to journals, newspapers, etc. Make sure to select "All Collections" if you want to switch back to searching the entire catalog.
- Use the "Online Library Resources" search to limit your search to electronic reference works, e-books, etc. Make sure to select "All Collections" if you want to switch back to searching the entire catalog.
- Click the "Find More Resources" button to search for an item in Amazon, look up an encyclopedia article in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, search for full-text, search Google Book Search and Google Scholar, or export a citation into RefWorks bibliographic management software (for more information, see (for more information, see Organizing Your Bibliographic Citations below).
Below is a selection of the databases that the Libraries makes available for your research. If you are not finding relevant sources in these databases or need more material, be sure to look for additional databases on On Find Articles & More History, Economics, and Statistics as well as under other relevant subjects. You will also want to search the Research & Subject Guides database to find guides with resources related to your topic.
Databases come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from those with the full text of primary and secondary sources to those with bibliographic citations to primary and secondary sources. Some offer full-text primary sources that are keyword-searchable and others do not (in which case you need to search records within the database to access the full text). Some indexes have links directly to full text, others use a link resolver ("Find it at CU") to help you find electronic and print full text, and others require you to look in Chinook as a separate step to find the full text.
Index with abstracts of articles in journals, books, dissertations, and working papers in economics and finance. EconLit is the American Economic Association's electronic bibliography of economics-relayed literature. EconLit is an expanded version of the Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) indexes of journals, books, and dissertations. In addition, EconLit includes citations to articles in collective volumes indexed in the annual volumes of the Index of Economic Articles, articles from over 250 journals not indexed in JEL, and the full-text of JEL book reviews. CU
Provides indexing and abstracting for citations on the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States). Currently over 2,000 journals published throughout the world are covered in the database. CU
Once you have located periodical material of interest in these databases, if they do not contain a direct link to full text, make sure you have all the relevant citation information. You can print and/or email the citations and abstracts from most of the databases. Your next steps for getting an article are offered via the "Find it at CU" link if it appears in the database:
- Search for an electronic copy of the journal by searching Chinook by ISSN under "Library Catalog"
- Search for a print copy of the journal by searching Chinook by Title under "Library Catalog." If the print is offsite, you can order an electronic copy.
- If no print version is available, order an electronic copy under "Articles" through ILLiad (document delivery/ILL).
Books and Book Chapters
Do a Title search for the book in Chinook to see if the CU Libraries hold it. If not, your next steps for getting a book are:
- Re-run your search in Prospector
- Search for the title in WorldCat and order it through ILLiad
Non-CU Dissertations and Theses
- Search for the title in WorldCat and order it through ILLiad
For more information about the various Interlibrary Loan options mentioned here, select the "Interlibrary Loan" tab on this guide.
Once you have found relevant material, you may wish to manage your bibliographic information using a research log or specialized software. The Libraries have subscribed to RefWorks, which is available to all CU students.
For detailed information on adding citations to the database, creating a bibliography, and more in How Do I...Use RefWorks?
Still need help after trying the strategies listed on this guide? Or can't figure out how to use a particular resource? Here are some options for further assistance: