hist European History and Politics: Library Research Guide

Why use a research guide?
This research guide has been developed to save you time and help you produce a better research paper. It will inform you of the best print and electronic resources for your topic. If you need assistance at any point, please ask for help at the Social Sciences Reference Desk, level 1, or from the European Studies specialist Richard Hacken, 5523 HBLL.

* If you are not affiliated with BYU, you may not have full access to some of the electronic resources discussed.

A.  Getting Started

1. Select Your Topic
2. Identify Terminology
3. Locate Background Information
4. Focus Your Topic and Form an Issue Question
5. Organize Your Topic into Concepts

B. Finding Research Materials

1. Books
2. Articles
3. Full-Text Databases
4. Additional Resources
5. Internet Resources

C. Evaluating and Selecting Resources

D. Preparing Your Paper and Citing Resources

A. Getting Started

1. Select Your Topic
Select a topic you wish to research. If you find too many materials on the topic to cover it adequately, narrow it to a subtopic or take a specialized approach. If you find too few materials, consider widening your focus (see step #4).
Separate research guides are available for:
French History & Politics;
German History & Politics;
Italian History & Politics;
and Scandinavian History & Politics;

2. Identify Terminology
When researching a topic, it is important to use the correct terms. If using the individual subject elements in a natural language keyword search does not work for you, look up your topic in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). These "red books" are at the Humanities Reference Desk and provide you with appropriate subject headings and related terms in various subjects. Some examples of legitimate subject headings for European History and Politics with their subdivisions are:

Middle Ages--History,
European Union countries--Foreign economic relations,
Italy--Politics and government,
France--History--Revolution, 1789-1799,
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Denmark,
Verts (Political party),
Democracy--Portugal, etc.

In each case, the geographic designations and time periods could be different. As further examples of such subdivision, the L.C. subject term for Dutch social history is Netherlands--Social conditions and for Swiss economic history is Switzerland--Economic conditions. Using these and similar terms in the online catalog, do a "subject" search. Once you have found relevant book entries, you can also consult the library record to find and click on other legitimate subject terms.

Begin to make a list of terms and names that describe or relate to your topic.

3. Locate Background Information
The following are a few suggested European History and Politics reference sources. Look for more materials in the same call number areas in Social Science Reference (and in the regular shelving) on Level 1.
Dictionaries and Encyclopedias:

Dictionary of European History
(Soc Sci Ref: D 9 .R73)

Dictionary of the Middle Ages
(Soc Sci Ref: D 114 .D5)

D. Dinan, Encyclopedia of the European Union
(Soc Sci Ref: JN 30 .E52 1998)

Encyclopedia of the Third Reich
(Soc Sci Ref: DD 256.5 .S57)

Directories of Political Institutions:

Euro-Guide: Yearbook of the institutions of the European Union and of the other European organizations
(Soc Sci Ref: JN 15 .A63)

F. Jacobs, Western European Political Parties : A Comprehensive Guide
(Soc Sci Ref: JN 94.A979 W475 1989)

Political Parties of the World
(Soc Sci Ref: JF 2051 .D39)

4. Focus Your Topic and Form an Issue Question
Once you have a general idea of the issues, names, and subdivisions of your subject, try to narrow the scope and form an "issue question" to be researched.

5. Organize Your Topic into Concepts
Take the terms that best describe your topic and organize them into concepts, as illustrated in the concept box below:

concept 1
concept 2
concept 3
European Union
European Community
Common Market

B. Finding Research Materials


Look for books in the online Library Catalog.  When searching the catalog:
* Use the terms from your concept box as keywords, and link them with AND or NOT.
* Truncate terms that may have variants, with $ (for multiple characters) or ? (for single character).
* If using more than one term, nest the terms using parentheses.

The terms in the concept box above would be nested as follows:
(European Union or European Community or Common Market) and (financ$ or econom$) and (agreement? or treat$).

Note the difference between subject and keyword searches!
Subject searches should be exact subject headings from the LCSH as described above. Keyword searches are more flexible and come from any field in the record (title, author, subject heading, notes, publisher, etc.) You may want to start with keywords, look at the subject headings found in the records, and then click on the subject heading link to get a more specific group of materials with that subject heading. 
A. Indexes for History and Politics:
These periodical indexes give you references to articles from journals, magazines, conferences, and books. The main indexes are:

Historical Abstracts
(Historical Abstracts also available at Soc Sci Ref: D 5 .X1 H48 Index Table )
(index to politics and public affairs, especially effective for the past decade)

B. General Periodical Indexes
There are other multidisciplinary or general-interest indexes available, many of them offering current and full-text articles.

C. Indexes in other subjects
If your topic extends to other specific subjects, check periodical indexes in those areas, such as political science, education, history, psychology, communications, etc.

* Remember to look up the journal title in the Library Catalog (by periodical title) to get the call number!

The following are just a few selections of full-text online history sources. When you quote from these documents, the MLA Style can be used.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe
(from BYU: selected facsimiles, transcriptions and translations of source documents)
Avalon Project
(documents in Law, History and Diplomacy from the Yale Law School)
Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature
(from the University of Virginia)
World War I Document Archive (from BYU)

For European Studies resources on the web, you can begin from a selection of basic links on the HBLL European Studies webpage. This will guide you further to such sites as selected Western European newspapers, to WessWeb, the homepage of Western European Studies specialists, and to a complete list of European Studies and Linguistics study guides.

C. Evaluating and Selecting Resources

As you sift through the materials found, keep the following criteria in mind:

Type of Information:  Is the material a scholarly or a popular publication? Are there footnotes, bibliographies, and proper documentation of the material presented? If it is a journal, is it peer reviewed?

Authorship: Who is the author, where is he/she from, what organizations is he/she associated with, what other types of materials has he/she written? What are their perspectives and biases?

D. Preparing your Paper and Citing Resources

For citations, the following style manuals can be found at various reference desks:
Gibaldi, Joseph.
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.
2nd ed. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 1998.
Soc Sci Ref: PN 147 .G444 1998

Turabian, Kate L.
A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
6th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Soc Sci Ref: LB 2369 .T8 1996

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
4th ed. Washington, DC : American Psychological Association, 1994.
Soc Sci Ref: BF 76.7 .P82 1994

The Chicago Manual of Style.
14th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Soc Sci Ref: Z 253 .U69 1993

If you have additional questions, please ask at the Social Sciences Reference Desk on Level 1 or at the office of the European Studies subject specialist Richard Hacken in HBLL 5523 (His electronic address is hacken@byu.edu).