Great Research Tactics for History

Hey there!


The first thing you want to do is make sure you get the key facts right: dates, names, events, countries, etc.  Having those items correct will make research easier down the road AND save you from embarrassing fact goofs during class presentations and discussions.  It’s also nice to have some “big picture” context for your historical topic–sometimes in class you can get to learning so many details about a historical situation that you lose the global or historical context for that event.

Your go-to resource for correct facts and big picture context?  Encyclopedias and other reference sources!

We have them online for COCC students!   Go to the library webpage at and look for the Quick Facts pull down menu.

Take a look at the options provided and choose ENCYCLOPEDIAS.  Start with a general collection of online encyclopedias such as  CREDO Reference, ABC-Clio E-book collection, Gale Reference or Oxford Reference.  OR scroll down and take a look at our subject oriented encyclopedias.

All of our online encyclopedias allow you to print or e-mail entire sections on your topic.  Most of our online encyclopedias will allow you to create MLA citations as part of your e-mailed content.



If you need more–more information, more facts, more detail–about your historical topic then the next tool you use will be an ONLINE CATALOG to find books.

Start again with our library webpage at 

and look again at the pull down menus.  This time, focus on the Books and More: Library Catalogs option.

Choose our local COCC catalog for books you can locate on the second floor of Barber Library.  Choose the OSU or Summit catalogs if you can wait four to five days for book delivery and want to access larger collections (Summit is our consortial library collection–representing 34 university and college libraries).

Use the Citation Guides link at the bottom of this post to create MLA citations for your books.



Need still more?  Are you at a point where you have the essential facts and context for your historical topic but really want to hone in on some opinions about particular details?  That’s where searching periodical databases for articles can be very helpful.  NOTE: periodical databases can be confusing if you do not already know the basics (if not more!) about your topic!

Start again with our library webpage at 

and look again at the pull down menus.   Your choice this time is: Articles and More: Databases.

Choose History Subject Sources and explore some of the article databases available.  Also note that this list includes specific historical online encyclopedias as well.

Most periodical databases allow you to e-mail yourself articles and also allow you to choose your citation format for the article.



Essential!  Remember, most of our online encyclopedias and periodical databases allow you to format the citation for your item.  If you still need help formating citations, go to:


1 Comment

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One response to “Great Research Tactics for History

  1. Cat Finney

    Hi there–are you a COCC history student who has questions about your research? Ask them here! Cat

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