It’s hard to overestimate the importance of proper research when working on a particular topic. Research is equally vital for any discipline and any type of work. Whether it’s an academic paper, article, or just a personal interest.
History is no exception.
In fact, digital history research can be even more thorough. The process itself often differs from what you’d usually do to get the required information.
Keep on reading this article from our research paper writing service. You will learn how to efficiently research a history topic, utilize the historical method of exploring information, and find out about the best history websites, research databases, and other resources that’ll provide you with primary and secondary historical sources.
The historical method of research involves techniques and guidelines that require researchers to use historical sources and other evidence to explore a specific topic. For historical writing, historians often use common guidelines that usually include sensual criticism and lower criticism.
Historical research usually includes the following stages:
- Identifying the topic, research question, or idea.
- Conducting a review of background literature.
- Refining the research questions and ideas.
- Determining the methods you’ll use for your research.
- Identifying and finding the secondary and primary sources of information.
- Evaluating the accuracy and authenticity of the source materials you’ve found.
- Analyzing the dates and working on the overall exposition of your findings.
Your sources will provide you with the primary working material. Your writing will be based on that content, so there’s a firm reliance on their credibility and accuracy. That’s why you need to pay attention to what you select as a primary or secondary source.
But here's the thing: there's a vast number of various history websites out there.
Is this a good or a bad thing? It depends. On the one hand, you get freedom of choice. You can pick whatever resource you want to that fits all your requirements. Especially, if you’ve decided to go with a method that requires digging through loads of data. But at the same time, this variety makes you question the relevance of each source a lot more.
Don’t worry. We're here to help you. Now, let’s get right to work.
We’ll show you where and what sources you can find to use for your history paper. This will make your research easier. There won’t be a need to guess, whether or not a particular source is good enough.
It’s also fair to mention that most of the sources can easily qualify for multiple categories and as both primary or secondary sources. This is because they contain various types of historical information.
- Année Philologique Online
One of the go-to resources if you are searching for ancient history websites. It contains Classical Studies articles citations, divided into 1,500 journals and 500 collections.
- International Medieval Bibliography
Includes notes, articles, journal essays, and conference proceedings on medieval studies. The information present here covers the whole of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
- International Index to Black Periodicals
This resource delivers indexing for periodicals and scholarly materials in Black Studies. It also provides links to full texts from 40 out of 127 sources. Apart from that, there's also indexing for 45 periodicals from older times.
- Gender WatchThis is a database that contains over 250 full-text titles on gender and women's studies. It includes magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, pamphlets, reports, and papers.
- Periodicals Index Online
This history website indexes more than 14 million articles in over 4,000 journals. Out of all the journals covered, 650 include full texts.
- Proquest Historical Newspapers
This site contains more than 35 million digitized newspaper pages. Featured titles include The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, New York Times, The Observer, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and many more.
- Readers' Guide Retrospective
This is an online version of the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. It grants access to more than 3 million articles from around 375 magazines.
- Project MUSE
Here you can find articles in their entirety from numerous academic journals. The database covers a wide range of research areas, including history.
- ProQuest Research Library
￼This database covers multiple disciplines in 150 subject areas. It includes more than 6,000 periodical titles. Approximately 75 percent of all titles are present in full text. ProQuest Research Library features newspapers, trade publications, magazines, and scholarly journals.
- ERIC (ProQuest)
Educational Resources Information Center (also known as ERIC) provides full texts of articles on various topics. It includes over 1 million books, articles, teaching guides, research reports, conference papers, and curriculum. Of all the educational research sites, this one will be the most helpful.
- ERIC (USDE)This is a public version of ERIC. Unlike the ProQuest version, most of the articles aren’t available in full. However, this resource provides complete texts of other documents that ProQuest ERIC doesn’t feature.
This archive features digitized issues of academic journals. It also includes books and primary sources. JSTOR provides full-text searches of around 2,000 journals. It has both backlisted and current journals and books.
- Directory of Open Access Journals
This online directory indexes and grants access to peer-reviewed journals. Many of them don’t appear in library databases, which makes it a valuable digital history source.
- Bibliography of British and Irish History
This source provides historical data about the British Isles, the British Empire, and Commonwealth. The available documentation covers the period from 55 BC to the current times.
- History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
This database indexes books, conference proceedings, book reviews, dissertations, and journal articles telling about the history of science, technology, medicine, and other more recent historical topics. It also includes integrated bibliographies.
- Bibliography of Asian Studies
￼Bibliography of Asian Studies has almost 900,000 records regarding Southeast, East, and South Asia. Records include books and articles, as well as additional documents (such as journals).
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- Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans Digital Edition
This history website contains books, pamphlets, and other materials that were published during the 17th and 18th centuries in America. It includes over 36,000 indexed titles.
- Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker
This archive serves as a logical continuation to the first series of Early American Imprints. It covers books, pamphlets and many other publications published during the first couple of decades of the 19th century. This is one of the U.S. history websites you shouldn’t miss.
- Nietz Collection of 19th Century Schoolbooks
This collection contains full texts of over 140 old textbooks. It also has a couple of surveys of historic schoolbooks. The compilation has both searchable text and page images.
- International Medieval Bibliography
This bibliographic database covers historical information about Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It includes more than 400,000 titles. International Medieval Bibliography also features references to book chapters and articles.
- Google Book Search
This is a search engine made by Google specifically for searching books. It can feature both full and partial text, depending on the source.
- CQ Electronic Library
This resource provides a selection of books with a focus on history, government, politics, and religion. It also features full texts of CQ Weekly Reports and CQ Researcher.
- Historical Abstracts
This bibliographic database covers world history starting from the 15th century until present times. It indexes over 2,300 journals in more than 40 languages. Of all the world history websites, this one is indeed worth your attention.
- America: History and Life
This resource focuses on life and history of the United States and Canada. This database includes more than 1,800 journals that span the period from 1895 to the present. It also features links and citations to media reviews and books.
- Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
This source includes citations from over 1,600 journals containing Medieval and Renaissance studies. It also features a couple more other related databases.
- ATLA Religion Database
This database features over 1,900 journal titles in total, with more than 700 titles indexed. Apart from that, there are over 700,000 journal article records, more than 270,000 essays, around 640,000 reviews, and nearly 320,000 book records.
- Making of America (MoA)
Making of America is a library of digital history primary sources. Its collection contains nearly 50,000 journal articles and 10,000 books with 19th-century imprints.
- Directory of Open Access Journals
This source contains quality controlled, full text, free scholarly and scientific journals. They cover numerous subjects, including history. It features more than 9,000 journals with nearly 2,5 million articles.
- Historical Studies in Education
This is a peer-reviewed bilingual journal, published in English and French, with open access. The range of covered topics includes historiographical issues and methodology, as well as educational aspects.
￼This resource features over 20,000 peer-reviewed journals. 2,800 of those journals are gold open access. Apart from that, Scopus collection includes articles-in-press from nearly 3,750 publishers and periodicals. It also has more than 365 trade publications and over 6 million conference papers.
- Discovering American Women's History Online
This database contains primary sources documenting the history of women in the United States. Featured materials include letters, photos, diaries, articles, and more.
- ProQuest databases
ProQuest databases feature an enormous selection of journals, articles, article abstracts, and books. They cover a wide range of topics. Including history, literature and language, science and technology, arts, and multi-disciplinary resources.
- PQDT Open
This resource contains full texts of open access theses, papers, and dissertations. PQDT Open includes over 2 million entries and covered works. Digital history timeline of this site covers the period starting from 1951 to modern day.
- ArchiveGridThis service will help you to identify primary sources included in archives all over the world. The resource consists of more than 4 million records that describe archival materials. It indexes about 1,000 archival institutions.
- Archive Finder
This is one of the academic research sites similar to ArchiveGrid. It features more than 220,000 primary source material collections. They’re stored in repositories of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States.
- World Factbook
This source gives information on a variety of topics including history, geography, politics, and more. It continuously receives updates and broadens the spectrum of data provided. A digital world history resource you should check out.
- American Memory
American Memory grants open and free access to materials regarding American history. These include documents, images, sound recordings, maps, prints, and more. All the content is divided into topics for a more intuitive search. It will become one of your favorite American history websites.
- Digital History
This resource includes e-textbooks on the history of the United States. It has over 400 annotated titles and documents, primary sources on various topics, and more.
- History Matters
This is a source both for those teaching American history and for students. It provides materials and helpful data on U.S. history including primary documents, references, articles, syllabi, student works, annotations, audios, and images.
- Primary Documents in American History
This source gives links to digitized materials from the Library of Congress collections. There’s a page with background information for each of the featured items. All the content is divided into categories that correspond to historical periods.
- The Avalon Project
This digital history project gives access to relevant documents on history. Also law, economics, government, and politics. They cover both international events, as well as critical aspects of the United States history. Available materials cover the period from ancient to modern times.
- Internet History Sourcebooks Project
This history website contains a variety of historical materials. Including primary source documents, secondary sources, maps, bibliographies, audios, and images. It covers the periods from ancient, to medieval, to modern history.
- EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History
This is a digital history portal. It provides users with links to primary European historical sources. It has 46 separate indexes for city-states and countries of Europe.
- Questia Online LibraryThis is a digital academic oriented library. It gives access to books and journals focused on social sciences and humanities. It also includes integrated research tools.
Of course, all the digital history resources mentioned here represent only a tiny part of what’s available on the internet.
We did our best to make sure that they are the most useful and valuable resources. We’re not telling you that you should use all of the sources. Even a single entry on this list can easily satisfy all your content needs and the provide you with required data.
What digital history sources do you find the most useful? Are there any other resources we missed that are worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments!