This library guide was created to support the study of history at The University of New Hampshire.
Please use this guide to help develop your research. If you need additional assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me by email or by using the Schedule Appointment button in my profile box. I can also meet at other times to discuss your research needs or for one-on-one instruction on search strategies and sources.
As the Arts & Humanities Librarian, I serve as subject librarian to the History Department, so if you want to purchase or gain access to monographs, periodicals, media, or other resources that are not available at UNH, let me know and we'll determine the best strategy for connecting you with the information you need.
I welcome your suggestions for changes or additions to this guide, as well as those geared towards enhancing services provided by the UNH Library.
This guide is an introduction to selected resources and strategies for historical research. It covers both primary sources (such as diaries, letters, newspaper articles, photographs, government documents and first hand accounts) and secondary materials (such as books and articles written by historians and devoted to the analysis and interpretation of historical events and evidence).
Historians develop an understanding of the past by examining and interpreting evidence. And evidence comes in many forms, from hand-written, print or electronic texts, to the physical remains of historic sites, recorded data, pictures, maps, and historical objects. The researcher's aim is to locate appropriate sources of information, to analyze them for the information and biases that they contain, and to compare them with other evidence or the findings of other historians.
Even in this online, information rich, electronic age, libraries still play a major role in historical research. This guide is intended to help with locating primary sources in a wide variety of types and formats, as well as secondary sources, which contain the interpretations and analysis of other historians. Both kinds of sources will enable researchers to provide context and to verify both that accuracy or inconsistencies found in their research.
Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others
Environmental historican William Cronon, and his students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have a created an extremely useful website that serves as a basic introduction to historical research. It covers both sources and methods and should serve as a guide for anyone who is interested in exploring the past.