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Final Essay Guide: Problems in World History: Step Two: Information Seeking Strategies

Essential Questions

Questions to answer in this step:

  • What are the different types of sources I can access for this essay?

  • Which types of sources will be the most useful for my essay?

When should I look at each type of source?

Type of Source
When should it be accessed? 
Reference or Encyclopedia Articles Because these are general overviews of a topic, these resources should be accessed the beginning of research, when you are just learning more about your topic and want to make a list of keywords. You can also return to an encyclopedia if you encounter a topic that you do not know anything about when you are doing your more in-depth research. 
Textbook These resources can provide both general overviews as well as primary documents about a topic, so they can be accessed at many different points. You should read the section in your textbook about your topic, and see if it provides primary documents or options for further research.
Academic Journal Articles These resources offer more in-depth information, arguments, and analysis of a particular historical period. You should access these AFTER you have read a general overview and have written down some driving questions as well as keywords. When looking for academic journals, you should be very specific in your choice of keywords, and try multiple searches with multiple keywords!
Books and eBooks The library has a large collection of nonfiction books as well as eBooks that will be helpful for locating background as well as information on current issues. Searching in our library catalog will assist you in locating print materials, and looking in EbscoHost will allow you to search for eBooks. Also consider looking at the Carnegie Library's catalog for more information. 


Types of Sources

Type of Source


How to Locate the Source

Print Resources

These resources are very reliable, and have gone through a series of edits to ensure that the information is accurate. However, some print resources can be out of date. You need to asses whether or not currency is important to the driving questions you are answering.

A cart of books has been pulled for this project, but you can also search the Library Catalog for resources.


See Ms. Myers if you have questions about locating a book resource!

eBook Resources

Similar to print books, these resources are reliable and accurate. You still need to assess the currency of the information in the source.

eBooks are generally located in collections that can be accessed via an online database (I know, this might be confusing!). Here are the best options for eBook resources:


Gale Virtual Reference Library- this has an excellent collection of information for background research.


Ebscohost- make sure to select the specific eBook collection you want to use!


Google Books: this is an excellent resource to locate books are your topic that are in the public domain


Database Resources

Databases offer a vast collection of articles from periodicals, newspapers, journals, and magazines, as well as images, videos, statistics, etc. You may need to assess the articles for bias and currency.

The following databases are the most useful for this project:



***All of the resources above can include primary documents: make sure that you know what kind of resource you are looking at once you locate it!