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Research Guides

HIS244S Early Modern Europe, 1648-1815


Journal Articles

Use the Library website to find journal articles

Begin your search at the library homepage. From the LibrarySearch box, you can find books, journals, and other resources in our library catalogue in addition to searching for articles across multiple databases.

In the LibrarySearch box, type in the keywords relevant to your research topic. 

For example, if your topic is about Captain Cook and British colonization in 18th Century North America, you can enter the keywords

Captain Cook Colonization 

You will get a list of results such as Articles, Books, Reviews, and more! To find scholarly articles, underneath Filter your results select "Peer-reviewed articles" under Show Only and select "APPLY FILTERS" when prompted.

Narrow down your list to get better articles

Sometimes you will get hundreds of results. Use the filters in the left hand sidebar to narrow down your list of sources. You can filter your search results by Subject, Publication Date, and Language.


You can also narrow down your search results by adding different keywords. If you are looking for a specific phrase or multi-word term, such as the Industrial Revolution, put the phrase in quotes: "industrial revolution"

Identifying book reviews

While searching for journal articles, you may come across book reviews. Examine the citation for the article to distinguish between journal articles and book reviews. 

Book reviews

  • "Review" may be a subject heading in the search results
  • The author of the review and the author of the book are sometimes both indicated
  • The book publisher information may be included in the title
  • Books reviews are often short (only a couple pages)

In the example below, you can see this is a book review as it indicates the book author's name, title, and publisher. The page numbers also indicate it's only 1 page long, suggesting it is a book review.

Subject Databases

Why should you use subject specific databases?

  • The library catalogue may produce too many search results
  • You want to search for more specific time periods


Recommended Subject Specific Database

How to use Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)


Use the Library website to find books

In the library homepage search box, type in the keywords relevant to your research topic. When searching for books, remember to use simple, broad keywords.

From the list of results, underneath Filter your results on the left sidebar select "Books" under Format and select "APPLY FILTERS" when prompted to see the the library catalogue search results.  

Narrow down your list of books

You can refine your search with various filters on the left sidebar, such as Library, Subject, Publication Date, and Language.


For ebooks, you can also click on the Online checkbox at the top of the page underneath show only. 

How to find a book in Robarts library


1. Look up the title in the library catalogue. Note the call number, for example,  E76.7 .K68 2009

2. Enter the elevators on the 1st floor of Robarts Library.

The books at Robarts are on the 9th to 13th floor.The Robarts Library Stack Guide tells you which call numbers are on which floor, according to the first letter or letters  A chart on the elevator also tells you which call numbers are on which floor, according to the first letter or letters. In this case, E is on the 10th floor, with most other history books.

3. Once you are on the correct floor, find the section with the correct letters. Then work your way through each line of the call numbe4. To sign out your book, take it back to the 1st floor and use one of the automatic machines. If you need help, ask at the loan services desk.

  • If you have trouble finding your book, staff at the loans services desk on the 1st floor of Robarts library can help you find it. You can also call 416-978-8450 for assistance, or contact Library Help.

            Chat is online, click to chat


4. To sign out your book, take it back to the 1st floor and use one of the automatic machines. If you need help signing out your book, ask at the loan services desk on the 1st floor.

Primary Sources

Four ways to find primary sources:

1. Start with what you already have to uncover references to primary sources. Consult your:

  • class notes
  • course readings
  • bibliographies of your textbook, journal articles, or other secondary sources
  • historical encyclopedias

They can also help you identify relevant historical figures, authors, or keywords for searching library database

From your syllabus:

Primary sources are documents or pieces of evidence which provide direct, firsthand information or insight into a particular historical period or event. Such sources constitute firsthand historical evidence precisely because they were produced by historical actors from the period under study.  Primary sources include, but are not limited to, government archives, newspapers, works of fiction, learned treatises, diaries, letters, and memoirs. Primary sources aren’t necessarily always written texts: oral testimony, performed music, as well as material objects like paintings, buildings, tools, and food can all serve as primary sources. 


2. Use the library catalogue to find books and other materials

Combine keywords for different kinds of primary sources with keywords for your topic to find them in the library catalogue.


Enlightenment sources

Battle of Waterloo correspondence

Bubonic Plague documents


Primary source keywords

documents sources texts diaries
correspondence     pamphlets   personal narratives     interviews


3. Use reliable online primary source collections


4. Use one of the specialized libraries at U of T, such as the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, or one of our special collections.​

Choosing The Best Sources

When choosing books or articles for your paper, consider the following:

  • Are they relevant to your topic, and the argument that you wish to make?
  • Are they current? Some of your sources should reflect current research.
  • Are they substantial? Beware of an article that is only a couple of pages.
  • Are they scholarly? Distinguish between popular and scholarly sources 

Scholarly journal articles report on original research by experts in a particular academic discipline. Often they go through a peer-review process, which means that they are evaluated by reputable scholars in the field before they are published. 


Criteria for evaluating scholarly journals


Who wrote it? What are their credentials?


Does the author acknowledge his or her sources? How?


Is the content substantial?

Does it appear to be valid and well-researched?

Does it make sense, based on your own background knowledge, or what other articles have to say on the topic? 


Is the language scholarly?

Is the article well written?

Do illustrations and data support the content in a scholarly fashion, or do they appear to be attention-getting, or sensational?


Who is the article written for?

Is it written for experts and researchers in the field, or for members of the general public?


Is it published in a scholarly journal?


RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance)

Another helpful way to evaluate the credibility of a information source is through the framework RADAR (Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, and Relevance). See the guide for using RADAR for more detailed guidelines about how to evaluate the quality and usefulness of an information source for your research

Adapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478,

HIS244S Assignments

Annotated bibliography

Research paper and Final Essay

Citation Help

  • Why and how we cite sources in academic writing The guide includes links to many helpful online tutorials, style guides, and related documents to help you understand citation practice, and build correct citations for your bibliography

Style Guides

Books from the Library

Writing Help


How do I get the full text?

  • Make sure you've chosen a journal article - only journal articles link to the full-text: Doublecheck that you're not trying to link to an article in a book.
  • WORKAROUND if the link to a journal article doesn't work or if the search for your specific article doesn't bring up the article:
    • Search the journal title in the library catalogue. Find the online version of the journal - it has [Electronic resource] beside the title.
    • Often, more than one subscription is listed. Choose the one with the right date to cover your article.
    • Then find the volume and issue that holds your article.
  • It's possible the Library does not have your article  - our collection is enormous but we still don't have everything. The Library can get things for you from other libraries through inter-library loan
  • You can always check with a librarian. Contact the Library through chat, email or in-person.

Ask Us!


This guide is currently maintained by Jesse Carliner. Please send any suggestions, comments, and reports of broken links to 

  • Winter 2023 update: Samantha Zani, TALInt student