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Research Hacked: History Topics

Plan your search, pick your tools, and strategize to find information on history topics.

history topics

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Have a history assignment coming up and need help choosing/narrowing down a topic? Are you struggling to find credible historical sources? We can help!

In this guide, you will find information about:

  • Librarian suggested databases to start your history research
  • Keyword strategies
  • Differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
  • Videos and media about historical research and analysis
  • And more!

"History is an academic discipline that examines the past. As an applied critical approach or for public policy development, it traces present conditions in human society and outlines future alternatives—considering likely societal and technological changes... Perspective and context are important processes in analyzing history: viewing actions by the standards of their times and acknowledging influences on the author’s (and reader’s) thinking."

Kronzek, Lynn. 2022. “History.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, February.

Pick Your Search Tools

Best Bets

Power Search Tools

Select Your Search Strategies

Exact Phrase

Add Quotation Marks to search for an exact phrase or words in a specific or EXACT order. An exact phrase will return more accurate results because it snaps all of the words together, turning it into a phrase that must be found exactly in that order.

Example: separation anxiety vs. “separation anxiety”

3 Magic Words - AND, OR, NOT


Apply filters to limit your search results. Because they limit your results, filters might also be called limiters. The most common and helpful filters to limit your results are:

  • Date: Limit to the past 5 years, or a specific date range
  • Source Type: Limit to academic/scholarly sources or any other type, such as news or ebooks
  • Peer Review: Limit to scholarly sources that have been peer reviewed


Create a list of keywords associated with your topic.

What else could it be called (synonyms)? What describes it specifically (hyponyms)? What is it related to broadly (hypernyms)?

Topics can be narrowed or broadened depending on the use of search terms.

General: monkeys

Narrower: howler monkeys

Broader: primates

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