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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: World War II

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.

Step 1. Locate World War II Background Information

This guide leads you through the research process for World War II topics. For general tips on the research process, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.

Related Subject Guide - History--World and History--American


For Specialized print encyclopedias, use the Social Sciences/Education Reference collection, Level 1:

  • Americans at War: Society, Culture, and the Homefront (Soc Sci Ref E 181 .A453 2005) - available online through Gale Virtual Reference Library
  • Encyclopedia of War and American Society (Soc Sci Ref E 181 .E634 2006)
  • Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social and Military History (Soc Sci Ref D 740 .E516 2005)
  • The Home Front Encyclopedia: United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II (Soc Sci Ref D 750 .H54 2007)
  • The Oxford Companion to World War II (Soc Sci Ref D 740 .O94 1995) - available online through Oxford Reference Online
  • Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II (Soc Sci Ref D 740 .S57)
  • World War II: America at War, 1941-1945 (Soc Sci Ref D 743.5 .P56 1991)

For Specialized online encyclopedias, use the following databases. For subject specific background resources, use the History--World Subject Guide or the History--American Subject Guide.

Step 2. Develop & Narrow Your Topic

After reading Background Resources, you should be able to fill out the following "From Topic to Research Focus" formula.  NOTE: This is NOT the same as your Thesis Statement.  Your Thesis Statement is developed after you read Research Materials about your issue/question, determine your stance, and decide how you will present your attitude/angle/argument. For examples of how to use the "From Topic to Research Focus" rubric, click on the Develop and Narrow Topic tab at the top of this page.

1)  I am researching _________________________________ (topic)
2)  because I want to find out __________________________  (issue/question)
3)  in order to _______________________________________(application)

Organize your Research Focus into concepts: identify terms, think of synonyms, and organize them using this chart.

(Concept 1) _____________ OR ____________ OR ____________ (Synonyms for Concept 1)

AND (Concept 2) _________ OR ____________ OR ____________ (Synonyms for Concept 2)

AND (Concept 3) _________ OR ____________ OR ____________ (Synonyms for Concept 3)

Step 3. Find Research Materials for World War II topics

For Books use the Books & More search to find specific titles from the bibliographies you noted above. Use the Books & More - Advanced Search to find additional books on your issue question. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box.

For Articles use the Articles & More - Advanced Search selecting Collection: History & Geography. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box. Click Go to begin the search. Click on the title of the article to read the abstract. Click the Full Text Available and Check for Full Text to view the entire article.

To retrieve additional articles, connect to the databases linked below, or select them from Databases A-Z in the Databases & Journals box on the Library Home Page. Depending on how you have narrowed your subject, other databases listed on the History--World Subject Guide or the History--American Subject Guidemay also be appropriate.

Steps 4 & 5: Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper

For tips on Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.