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Researching British History: Searching Tips

Guide to resources on British history for the students in Hist 101

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Searching Tips

Search strategy:

Before you start your research, try focusing your topic by writing a one sentence research question.

For example: What was the impact of World War I on the British Suffragette Movement?


  • Identify the main ideas in your research question.

          o Woman suffrage
          o England
          o World War I

  • Use an asterisk to find variations of a word, for example suffrage* would pick up suffragette as well as suffrage.
  • Then, enter your keywords in the database search boxes.   For example:

          first line: woman suffrage
          second line: england
          third line:   World War 1   

          If there is only one search box, enter your keywords connected by AND:  

             Ex: woman suffrage and England and World War I    



Choosing the right database:

The library subscribes to so many databases that it is sometimes difficult to choose the right one.  If you are not sure which one to choose, use the Database by subject list on the library web page.  For example if you are writing a paper on women's suffrage in England you may want to choose a database for history such as Historical Abstracts,  but you might also try some of the databases specialized for women's studies.


Locating  the full-text of an article:

You have 4 options for getting the full-text of an article:

  • The database you are using has the full-text article. Just click on the link (pdf version is better)
  • If not, click on Find It@SCU Libraries:

        * Is the article available in another database (e.g., Wilson OmniFile, JSTOR)? If so, click on the link and follow the citation information (e.g., volume, issue, date of publication, etc.)
        * Does the library have this journal in print? It is possible the library has the journal but not the year you need.

  • If none of the above work, you can request the article from another library via Interlibrary Loan.