How Do I Choose a Topic for my History Research Paper?

Before deciding on a topic for historical research consider the following:

What possible sources of information exist on the topic?  Bibliographies, endnotes, and footnotes found in books and articles are invaluable sources for finding out what exists on the topic and what other researchers used.

Does the Munday Library have information on your topic?  Search the Library Search box from the library homepage to find out what books and articles our library has on the topic.  Do other libraries in the area have what you need, and do you have access to their materials? Our library subscribes to the WorldCat database that helps you find out what material exists on the topic in other libraries. St. Edward’s students, faculty, and staff can obtain a Texshare Card through our library which will allow them to check out books at other Texas libraries.  We can also have material sent to our library for your use through Interlibrary Loan.

If you need primary sources, are they readily available in your area?  Serious primary research still takes place in the archives, manuscript, and rare book rooms of public, private, and university libraries or at state and town historical societies.  Most archives and rare book rooms do not lend material, so consider whether you have the time and resources to go there in person.  Fortunately, many libraries and archives are digitizing primary documents and making them available to the public on the Internet.