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Research Guides

History Research

Comprehensive guide to research resources in History at the University of Toronto, with a particular emphasis on primary sources. For beginning to advanced researchers.

Journal article databases

Get the journal

To access an article from a citation in a database:

  • If you see a [fulltext] link, select it.
  • If you see a Get!it button or SFX button, select it. This will link to the article online, if we have it. If we don't have it online, it will search the library catalogue for you to tell you if we have it in print.

To find an item from a bibliography:

  • Method 1: Go to the library home page and enter your article title in the search box. It may help to put quotes on the title. This should find your article if it is online. 
  • Method 2: Look up the name of the journal that the article is published in, in the library catalogue, to find out if we have it in print or online. Write down the name of the library, and the journal's call number in that library. Make sure we have the volume that you want. 

Keyword search examples

Example topic:  Discuss the role that the peasants played in the French Revolution.

french revolution and peasant*

1. What are the most important ideas in your topic? Brainstorm keywords. Look for synonyms, word variations, more specific words or examples, or broader terms.

french revolution      

peasants, peasant, peasantry, rural, agrarian

2. Put your keywords together in a search string:

peasants and french revolution

peasant* and french revolution

land reform and french revolution

3. * (asterisk) finds different word endings (the symbol may vary from database to database)

peasant* finds peasant or peasants

feudal* finds feudal, or feudalism

4. and focuses your search by finding articles with both terms in the record, e.g., peasants and french revolution

Additional example:

canad* and immigra* and ital* (for Italian immigration to Canada)

Advanced keyword searching

Example topic:  Discuss the role that the peasants played in the French Revolution.

french revolution and (peasant* or rural or agrarian)


or finds alternative words. Enclose all words joined by 'or' in brackets.

french revolution and (peasant* or rural or agrarian)

Additional example:

(aboriginal or native or indian*) and self-government
(for aboriginal self-government)

Focusing your results

You can use Historical Abstracts options to focus on scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, English or another language, or the time the article was published.

select 'Academic article' and 'English'