Identify experts in your field - what are your professors reading?
Identify major debates driving scholarship in your field – who are the protagonists?
Identify major journals and other sources (report series, internet sites), including best places for book reviews of new works in the field.
Identify lacunae in existing scholarship that can help direct your research.
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Historian's generally use the Chicago style format for footnotes/endnotes and bibliography. This one page guide provides examples for the most common type of sources. See the Citations and Writing page for more guides and information.