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Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing, 5th Edition

February 2013, ©2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing, 5th Edition (EHEP002707) cover image

The updated fifth edition of Going to the Sources presents a practical guide to historical research and writing for all students of history.

  • Focuses on the basics of historians’ craft, introducing students to concepts including refining a topic, selecting sources, and engaging critically with their reading
  • Appendices illustrate style for footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographical entries, as well as a list of commonly used abbreviations
  • Features a new chapter on the use of non-textual sources for historians, including a case study discussion of the historical importance of D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation
  • Addresses how to bring the critical assessment skills of reading to bear on film and other non-textual sources
  • Includes a student-written historiographical essay, with marginal notes for instruction
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Preface to the Fifth Edition

Chapter 1 The Ever-Changing Shape and Texture of the Past

Static and Dynamic Concepts of History
Revising Our View of the Past
New Forms of Historical Consciousness
Toward a “People’s History”
Minorities and Women Enter History
The Annales School and Cliometrics
Psychology and History
Microhistory and Macrohistory
A Multitude of Avenues to the Past

Chapter 2 The Nature and Variety of Historical Sources

Primary Sources
   Manuscript Sources
   Published Sources
Secondary Works
   Dissertations and Conference Papers

Chapter 3 Finding Your Sources: The Online Library Catalog and Beyond

The Online Library Catalog
Subject Headings, Keywords, and Title Words
Creating and Using a Research Bibliography
Published Bibliographies
Printed and Electronic Indexes and Abstracts
Finding Scholarly Essays
Other Important Databases
Historical Research on the Internet
Finding Useful Reference Materials

Chapter 4 Getting the Most Out of History Books: Critical Reading and Assessment

The Need for More Effective Reading
Finding out about Authors
Comparing Similar Works of History
Reviewing a History Book

Chapter 5 Beyond Textual Sources: Historians’ Use of Other Media

Words, Images, and the Historical Imagination
The Birth of a Nation: Entertainment, Propaganda, and Critical Response
Reading, Viewing, Reflecting: A Case Study
The Evolving Integration of Text and Image

Chapter 6 Exploring Changing Interpretations: The Historiographic Essay

Selecting and Refining a Topic
Research for a Historiographic Essay: A Case Study
Writing the Historiographic Essay
Alternative Approaches

Chapter 7 Engaging with Primary Sources: The Research Paper

Searching for a Viable Topic
Finding Primary Sources
Approaching Your Reading
The Outline and Structure of Your Paper
Some Elements of Effective Writing
An Open Mind and Intellectual Honesty
Editing and Revising
One Final Look

Chapter 8 Conclusion: The Open-Ended Nature of History

Appendix A: Published Bibliographies
Appendix B: Major Databases for Bibliographic Searching
Appendix C: Footnote/Endnote Formatting
            Book by a Single Author
            Book by Two Authors
            Book by Three Authors
            Book by Four or More Authors
            Book with Author(s) as Editor(s)
        Articles and Essays (Chapters)
            Journal Article
            Magazine Article
            Newspaper Article
            Encyclopedia Article
            Essay (Chapter)
            Book Review
        Other Types of Sources
            Government Document
            Footnote Reference to a Previously Cited Work
Appendix D: Bibliography Formatting
         Essay (Chapter)
         Sample Bibliography
Appendix E: Commonly Used Abbreviations

Suggestions for Further Reading

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Anthony Brundage is Professor Emeritus of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His publications include The Great Tradition: Constitutional History and National Identity in Britain and the United States, 1870-1960 (2007).

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"This book would be very useful for students at all levels of historical study from year 12 upwards.  As well as practical strategies for approaching historical and research methods, it also provides an interesting insight into what history is, and how the study of history is always evolving. I would consider it an essential addition to humanities collections."  (Reference Reviews, 1 March 2014)

“This manual provides excellent assistance for beginners and more advanced students engaged in the research and writing process in history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 October  2013)


A clear, concise, and practical guide, introducing students to historical thinking and viable sources and helping them research and write—an excellent resource for majors and non-major alike.

--Nancy LoPatin-Lummis, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Anthony Brundage’s Going to the Sources is the best concise treatment of historical methodology I have seen, and I use it in the classroom with great effect. Well-chosen case studies, useful practical tips, and helpful writing samples guide the reader step by step toward a mastering of historical and historiographical research and writing

--Zuoyue Wang, History Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Purchase Options
Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-118-51531-0
176 pages
February 2013, ©2013
$19.95   BUY

Wiley E-Text   
Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-118-51527-3
176 pages
January 2013
$19.95   BUY

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