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Research Guides

HSTRY 288/HSTCMP 290: The Global History of Human Rights: Secondary Sources: Books & Scholarly Articles

Why Use Scholarly Books & Articles?

book jacket article illustration book jacket

The raison d'être of scholars is to attempt to describe, explain, interpret and analyze issues & events. Scholars use evidence to support their interpretations which are most often published in the form of books and journal articles (secondary sources). So why should you use secondary sources?

Strengths

  • Written by expert scholars. Before publication academic books and articles are vetted by other scholars in a process known as peer review.
  • Peer review ensures that scholarly books and articles are more reliable and credible than other types of publications.
  • Provide historical/broader/in depth context and analysis of a topic. For example, if you are researching Armenian genocide, you may want to use a scholarly source to get information on the history of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. 
  • Scholarly articles and books are based on evidence (primary sources) that are cited in the footnotes and bibliography. They are often a quick way to identify potential primary sources that you too may wish to use as evidence in your research paper. 

 

Keep in mind

 

  • Expert scholars are likely to use specialized terminology and theory in their analyses making scholarly articles and books sometimes difficult to understand.

Start Here for Books

 

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Start Here for Books


UW Libraries Search is your starting point for finding books at the UW Libraries.  In addition UW Libraries Search also includes citations to current non magazine articles as well as to scholarly articles and book reviews. (often linked to fulltext). Use the options on the "Refine My Results" toolbar on the left of your search results screen to filter your results to books, by language, by library location, etc. 
 

  • To search for books by keywords just enter your terms into the search box -- for example: armenian massacre
  • To search for a book by title use quotations around the first few words of the book -- for example: "armenian genocide the essential"
  • To search for a book by author type in the author name lastname firstname -- for example: "akcam taner"

Databases for Finding Articles & Other Scholarly Publications

Search the following databases to find scholarly articles on your topic. When searching you may need to connect your keywords with the AND connector or use separate search boxes for each keyword. For example: armenia and genocide

How to Read Scholarly Material

Scholarly articles and books have a purpose -- an argument (also called a thesis) that they are attempting to make about an issue and present evidence to support this argument. As you read a scholarly article first check to see if there is an abstract, a brief overview of the article. This will give you an idea if the article will be relevant for your research. Then look for the author's argument. Ask yourself, does the author adequately support their argument with evidence.

For more information on reading a scholarly article see: Analyzing Scholarly ArticlesHow to Read an Academic Article & How to Read a Secondary Source.