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Texas History

Use this guide to find articles, books, websites and more information related to Texas history.

Search Strategy for History Projects

Getting Started

When starting to research a historical topic, it's often best to start with a reference source that is related to your topic, such as The New Encyclopedia of the West or The Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution.  Search the library catalog and the e-book collection to locate this type of source or refer to the sources listed in the Background & General Information section found on this page.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary sources are accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event in question. These original documents are often diaries, letters, autobiographies/memoirs, journals, speeches, manuscripts and interviews. They may also include newspaper or magazine articles (as long as they are written soon after the fact and not as historical accounts), photographs, audio or video recordings, research reports in the natural or social sciences, or original literary or theatrical works.

When searching for primary sources in the library catalog or databases, add words or phrases to your topic such as journal, autobiography or personal account.

Secondary sources interpret, analyze, report or describe primary sources.  They are at least one step removed from the event or phenomenon under review.  

Keep the following questions in mind when determining if something is a primary or secondary source.

  • How does the author know these details (names, dates, times)?
  • Where does this information come from-personal experience, eyewitness accounts, or reports written by others?
  • Are the author's conclusions based on a single piece of evidence, or have many sources been taken into account (e.g. diary entries, along with third-party eyewitness accounts, impressions of contemporaries, newspaper accounts)?


Background & General Information Sources

Start by getting familiar with basic information about your topic.

  • Review background and general information
  • Identify important people, places, events, time frame

How to find this type of information?

  • Use the following general encyclopedias
  • Use the Gale Reference Library to find subject specific encyclopedias and other reference books.
  • Use the catalog to find subject specific encyclopedias

Please note, information found in general encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica or Funk & Wagnall's New Encyclopedia cannot be cited or used as a source for your research project.

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Created by Hartness Library at the Community College of Vermont.

Historical Associations