A beginner's guide to using the library is included.

How do I find appropriate sources and get started writing my history essay? What are some search techniques for finding articles?

How do I:
-decide on a topic
-search for articles
-find the articles in the library
-research the essay
-write the essay

Here is an example essay question, which could be for a term paper in a first year Canadian History course:

"World War I has been described by many historians as a significant event in Canada's history. Write a 2000 word essay in which you discuss the historical significance of some aspect of Canada's role in World War I. Make a clear argument about whether or not you feel this aspect is historically significant to Canada. Use information found in articles from scholarly journals to back up your arguments with examples. Be sure to cite your sources through the use of APA style. See the professor if you need help with this assignment."

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...online database. You will likely receive a list of more than 100,000 articles, if not more. You must learn to get a narrow topic for your essay, and then search for articles on that topic.

9.) The first place to start when deciding on an essay topic is with general information. Do a general search to look for information on the topic as a whole. Use the web search engines and any other sources your can think of. A search string that you could put into a search engine like [Google.ca] might look like this:

"world war I" "Canadian history"

Google will display a web site only if it has both of the key phrases in its index.

You can combine the use of quotes and single words:

"first world war" "Canada's role" "history"

Google will look for index entries that contain all three phrases/words.

10.) After looking over general historical information, do a brainstorm of words and phrases to narrow your topic. Try to break down the topic into small "chunks". You might decide to examine Canada's infantry then narrow that to the infantry in a specific battle, such as the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

11.) After narrowing your topic further, begin searching the databases and the OPAC. Let's say you are now looking for articles on the role of the Canadian infantry in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Begin thinking of search strategies to find articles on that topic.

12.) Develop one or two possible thesis statements and plan out how you would support those arguments with clear examples from the articles that you are looking for. Try to decide on a descriptive title for your essay. Here is an example of a title: "They paid in blood: Examining the historical significance of the Canadian infantry's role in the Battle for Vimy Ridge, 1917." Your title and thesis statement will probably change after you find and read your articles, hopefully reflecting an even narrower focus.

13.) You must now search the online databases available to you for articles about your topic. An example of a database that contains history articles is Early Canadiana Online. You must learn the rules for searching the database that you end up ...