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History senior thesis survival guide

Finding historiographic essays -- first steps

For topics that are of wide interest, you may be able to find an essay that reviews the literature on that topic, and that sets it in context by discussing how other historians have approached that topic. This kind of essay is invaluable when you are starting a research project. There are two easy ways to find them:

History Compass is an online journal that publishes historiographic essays. If there is an essay on your topic, it can be an excellent place to start. Caution: if you do not find what you need with your first search, you will need to scroll to the bottom of the search results page and click on Modify Search to start a new search within History Compass. Otherwise, you will need to specify that you want to search only this journal and not the entire list of Blackwell online journals

If your topic is covered, check Oxford Bibliographies Online (currently, covers Atlantic History, Classics, Criminology, Islamic Studies, Philosophy, and Renaissance and the Reformation)

America: History & Life and Historical Abstracts
In both of these bibliographic databases, "historiography" is a Subject. For example, in AHL, to find historiography on the American Civil war, do a Subject search for:
civil war historiography

Annual bulletin of historical literature
History Reference (SH). Firestone Z6205 .H65 and online


The "Blackwell Companions" are a series published both in print and online that contain useful historiographical chapters.

Note: to find copies of the Blackwell Companions, do a keyword search in the Main Catalog for " Blackwell companions to history," "Blackwell companions to American history," " Blackwell companions to British history," " Blackwell companions to world history," or " Blackwell companions to European history " to see if there is a volume in this series that covers your topic. Some copies circulate, and others are in the History Reference on A floor, and some are online.


US History British History
A Companion to American Indian History
A Companion to Colonial America
A Companion to the American Revolution
A Companion to the Civil War and Reconstruction
A Companion to 19th-Century America
A Companion to 20th-Century America
A Companion to Post-1945 America
A Companion to the Vietnam War
A Companion to the American South
A Companion to the American West
A Companion to American Cultural History
A Companion to American Women's History
A Companion to American Technology
A Companion to American Immigration
A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages
A Companion to Tudor Britain
A Companion to Stuart Britain
A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain
A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain
A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain
A Companion to Contemporary Britain 1939–2000
European History
A Companion to the Reformation World
A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Europe
A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe
A Companion to Europe 1900-1945
A Companion to Western Historical Thought
A Companion to the History of the Book
World History
A Companion to the History of the Middle East
A Companion to Japanese History
A Companion to Postcolonial Studies
A Companion to Latin American History
A Companion to International History 1900 – 2001