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Evaluating Sources

Evaluating your sources is a crucial step of the research process. You need to evaluate carefully each source to determine its appropriateness and quality.

Check our Evaluating Sources Checklist for criteria used to judge information sources and our Scholarly and Popular Resources page to distinguish between scholarly and popular publications.

It is particularly important to evaluation information that you find on the Web. Because there are no rules and anyone can post a page on the Web, you will have to determine whether the web site is of value. Go to Evaluating Web Sources for specific criteria used to analyze websites.

Check our Distinguishing Scholarly Journals from Other Periodicals page in order to evaluate periodicals by looking at their content, purpose, and intended audience.

Writing a Historical Book Review

Writing a historical book review can be different from a standard review, since it must be read and critiqued on the topic with understanding and research.  Unlike a summary, a historical book review must be effective and analytical. 

Check the following guides for assistance:

How to Write a Book Review (University of Calgary, Department of History)

How to Write a History Book Review (University of Iowa, Dept of History)

For more information, consult the guide, Writing a Book Review.

Writing a Historiographical Paper

A historiography paper is an essay that analyzes the different ways in which various historians have approached a historical topic. Unlike a research paper, a historiography paper is not a study of a historical subject; instead, it is an examination of how scholars' interpretations of history and historical events have changed over time.

A historiography paper should give a detailed overview of the major works of scholarship on a topic, and it should summarize, evaluate and critique the arguments of each of those works.

Check these resources:

Historiographic Essays (History Department, Queen's College N.Y.)

Finding Historiographic Essays (Princeton University Library)

Also check the following resource for a development of national, regional, and topic historiographies: 

Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing
REF D14 .E53 1999 (2 volumes)

Citing your Sources

Chicago is the preferred style of documentation for the History department. 


Check out these sites for information on citing sources:

Chicago Manual of Style Online
There are also print copies in the Library to sign out or consult.

Chicago Manual of Style (OWL at Purdue University

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Citation Management

Use citation software to organize your own library of citations, incorporate quotes into your assignments, and compile reference lists (bibliographies).

Please see our Citation Management guide for more information.