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HST 4850/6850 - Living History: Home

HST 4850/6850: Living History

Process for your impression report:

Remember to ask for help at any point during the process and to document your sources throughout the searching and writing process.  This will make things much easier for you as you are editing your final version.

1. Decide on the topic of your impression.

2. Brainstorm about what "pieces of the information puzzle" you need to create an accurate impression.

3. Identify the relevant databases or search engines for the kind of information you need (including primary source collections and items).

4. Using the ideas generated in item #2, think about/jot down relevant keywords and synonyms for your particular historical period, location, or individual that you can use to search.

5. Enter your search strategies using keywords, subject headings, and Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) as appropriate in the databases or search engines you have chosen.

6. Assess your results.

7. Revise your strategy as needed. Use the synonyms you identified and also think about related issues or implications of the concept you are trying to search.

8. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 as often as necessary.  (Research is an iterative process.  You should tweak your search strategy throughout the process based on what you find, and if you find gaps as you are drafting your outline or report, you may need to do more searching).

9. Draft, read, rewrite, revise..., etc. (Note: The "How can I avoid plagiarism?" guide linked on the left side of this page under "Need Help?" provides tips that will make your entire writing process easier and more efficient as well as help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism).

10. Rinse and repeat. Contact Ran Raider for additional help. Contact information on the right.

Other Help

Recommended Non-History Resources

The following are recommended resources to research for material culture and decorative arts for specific time periods.

Article Databases


OhioLINK Subject Search: resources for impression

Miscellaneous Reminders

Basic tips that will help prevent frustration!

  • "Mine" the references.
    •   Be sure to pay attention to what the authors of your sources have cited.  This will lead you to relevant sources you might not find otherwise.  Bibliographies and foot/end notes are your friend!  Search the title of the citation on the libraries front page using Quick Search.  Use quotes around your title to limit results.
  • Look at the details of the citations you find.
    • When you are reviewing the results listings from your database searches, be sure to pay attention to details other than just the title and the abstract.  This will save you some potential disappointments.
    • Here are just a couple of examples:

Peer Reviewed/Academic Journals limiters - provides some academic authority to your results.  Peer reviewed limiters index the entire issue of a professional journal, meaning results include book reviews and opinion pieces.  Academic journals limiters do not contain book reviews or opinion pieces.

Page numbers - indicate how substantial or minimal the article is so you can decide whether it is worth your time to locate it.  If the pagination indicates the article or document is only one or two pages, the content may still be useful, but if it is a journal WSU does not have and you request it through Interlibrary loan, you are a lot less likely to be disappointed when you receive it if you already noticed it was only a page or two.

Book reviews - Many article databases, including Historical Abstracts, America: History & Life, and JSTOR include book reviews, but it is not always obvious at first glance that the author is reviewing someone else's book on the topic rather than writing their own unique article on the topic.  Although JSTOR allows you the option to search for just articles, just reviews, or both, reviews may not always consistently be eliminated from the results if you choose to search only articles.  There is also no consistently reliable way to eliminate book reviews from Historical Abstracts or America: History & Life.

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Ran Raider
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(937) 775-3521