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History senior thesis survival guide

About book lockers in Firestone Library

Seniors in the history department are eligible for book lockers in Firestone. Apply through the form at http://library.princeton.edu/services/firestone-carrels-lockers.

What not to do

And now, some ways to mess up the research for your senior thesis:

  • Procrastinate. After all, how long can it take to do the research for an 80-page paper?
  • Choose a topic for which the primary sources are inaccessible to you – they are in a language you can’t read, in an archive you can’t get to, or are still classified by the government that created them.
  • Start (and end) your research by googling your topic. After all, all those expensive books, microfilm and digital collections the university paid for can’t possibly have anything useful in them.
  • Don’t worry now about keeping track of what you’ve read or about formatting your bibliography. You’ll be able to find all the information you need easily when you’re writing the final draft.
  • Assume that whatever you need – obscure journal articles, books, photocopies of manuscript material from archives in Europe -- can be delivered to you at the last minute. That's what Borrow Direct is for, right?

Librarian for (United States) History & African American Studies

Steven Knowlton