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HIST 392: Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Bazzaz): Secondary Sources

Spring 2024

Research Strategies


As historical researchers, we might use... 

The Library Catalog [or CrossSearch]

  • May contain many types of sources (scholarly, non-scholarly, multimedia,etc., both secondary and primary) 
  • Covers a variety of subject areas; 
  • Best place to find books for background on your topic. 

General (Article) Databases [or CrossSearch]

  • May contain many types of sources (scholarly, non-scholarly, multimedia,etc., all typically secondary)
  • Cover a variety of subject areas; 
  • Good places to begin research OR to do research on an interdisciplinary topic. May not be specific enough for advanced research. 
Subject (Article) Databases
  • May contain many types of sources (scholarly, non-scholarly, multimedia, etc., all typically secondary)
  • Focus on a specific subject area or areas;
  • Include tools designed for specialized research (e.g., ability to search by historical period).
Primary Source Databases‚Äč
  • May contain a variety of source types (newspapers, manuscripts, etc.) or be limited to one
  • Typically focused on the basis of one or more of the following: date; place; type of source; and/or topic. 
  • Usually includes tools specifically designed for searching primary sources

Consider your research needs. What do you need at this point in time? Are you still becoming familiar with your topic, or are you trying to fill specific gaps? 

For example, most primary source collections are categorized by dategeography, genre and/or topic.  So if you are hoping to find news reports on the St. Louis World's Fair, you need a resource that: 

  1. Provides access to newspapers; 
  2. Includes resources published in the US (even better, resources local to St. Louis or the midwestern US) 
  3. Covers the early 20th century, and 1904 specifically. 

Not sure which tool to use? Ask a librarian! 


Any research process begins by figuring out how to search. But, where to begin? 

Spend a few minutes thinking about what words could be used to describe the topic. Be as  specific as you can. 

For each of the words you listed, think of other words or phrases you could use that mean the same thing.

Use AND and OR to make your search more or less specific! This will give you more sources to choose from.

  • When you use AND, a database will look for resources that use all of the words you entered.
  • Use OR between words that mean the same or similar things, or that you are equally interested in.

If you aren't finding much, try...

  • Rephrasing. See if you can find even 1 or 2 relevant articles, note what subjects are listed for them, and use these to try again.
  • Broadening your topic, date range, geographic area, etc. 
  • Switching tools. Sometimes you just need a different database! 


No piece of research stands alone; each is part of a broader scholarly conversation in that topic/ field. These resources have clues that you can TRACE, if you know how to look! 

TermsCheck the abstract, subject terms and article for concepts and terms that you can use for your future searches.

Reported in Is the journal where the article was printed relevant? Try searching for other articles from this journal.

Author What else has the author(s) published on this topic? Search the databases for their other publications

Consulted by - Check Google Scholar to see which articles or books have cited your sources, and to find
more-recent research which builds on your original information.

Evidence -Check the references list (or bibliography) to see what previous research this resource is drawing on. From here, you may wish to consider: 

- Previous articles or books published on your topic
- Other authors who have published on your topic
- Journals where your topic is frequently discussed

Tools for TRACE-ing: 

Use the resources in the boxes below to search for Books, Articles and Journals on your topic. But first, read the next few tabs for some important Search Strategies.

Find Books, E-Books & Book Chapters

Monographs vs. Edited Collections

Monographs typically consist of a single intellectual work in one volume (i.e., one topic, likely one overall argument, etc.). You might find that an individual chapter or section of a monograph contributes substantially to your understanding of a topic. 

Edited collections (also sometimes called anthologies or edited works, among others) contain a collection of essays around a topic or idea, typically curated by one or more scholars in the field. These scholars, called the editors, have usually determined the topic of the collection, solicited papers on relevant topics, and selected the papers for final inclusion in the volume; they may have taken on other roles in the publishing process as well. Edited collections are valuable for their ability to bring together different takes on and aspects of a topic in a particular volume where they can be read together, but the chapters or essays also stand as their own intellectual works. 

Whereas monographs are quite broad, chapters in edited collections are more similar in depth and length to journal articles. 

Finding Edited Collections 

Edited collections are listed in CrossSearch like any other book. A trick for finding edited collections specifically is to include the term "edited" or "editor" as a keyword in your search.  From there, if the book is in print, you can use the strategies on the next tab (Book Chapters) to help identify the chapter(s) you would like to read -- or, find the entire book in the library.

You can also find chapters from edited collections...

  • listed in databases like Historical Abstracts (where they are typically labeled as "essays" or, more rarely, "book articles"); 
  • cited in bibliographies of articles and other books; and 
  • searchable in Google Scholar 

(among other places). 

Navigating the Library Stacks:

Books at Dinand Library are arranged by Library of Congress Call Number.

  • Reference books are in the Main Reading Room
  • Call numbers A through G are on the upper (Mezzanine) level.
  • Call numbers H through Z are on the lower (Ground) level (with a few exceptions).
  • and TR call numbers are located on the main level in the Visual Arts Wing.
  • Oversize books (with a "+" in the call number) are shelved at the end of the normal section for that letter. 

Watch our Call Numbers video tutorial  or visit our Call Numbers guide to learn more about how call numbers work. 

And of course, you might also find books you'd like to read at other libraries -- read more about Interlibrary Loan on the Access Options page


To search for e-books located at Holy Cross, use CrossSearch.
Then, use the Resource Type limiter in the side navigation to focus your search on e-books. 

You may also want to search in our specific e-book collections: 

When searching within a specific ebook collection, you will be able to search the full text of each book allowing more detailed searching. For example, you may search the library catalog and not find any titles on your topic, but a search in ebrary might find a book with one chapter focused on your topic.

Accessing E-Books at Holy Cross:
In most cases, your best option is to use the "Read Online" feature for our e-books. Most academic e-books do not work with devices that you might use to read personal e-books, such as a Kindle or Nook (believe me -- this frustrates librarians too!). There is software that you can download onto a PC or iPad, but this can be difficult to use, so if you have a stable internet connection, I recommend reading online. 

However, if you would like to download the software, or if you are having trouble accessing any particular e-book, please feel free to contact us ( or see our e-books guide linked below: 

NOTE that most e-books do have limits on printing. Each publisher has different functionality and rules for downloading and printing ebooks. 

Locating Book Chapters:

Locating book chapters that you may want to read can take a little more time. Here are some creative ways that you might find book chapters: 

  • CrossSearch -- some, but not all, of our books have tables of contents in the catalog that you can check; 
  • Google Books typically have limited previews, but if you can see enough to locate a helpful chapter, we can get you a copy; 
  • Similarly, previews; 
  • Google Scholar sometimes includes citations for book chapters (and searches across Google Books); 
  • Databases (some, but not all, include book chapter citations specifically; America History & Life is one); 
  • Citations in bibliographies of articles, e-books, or other books that you may have checked out before we closed. 

You can also try searching WorldCat, which searches the collections of libraries around the world (including ours!). Sometimes the information about a book is listed differently in WorldCat, allowing you to find sources that you would never have pulled up in our own catalog. 

Each of these strategies can be used to....

(1) Find the titles of book chapters in our own libraries, or 

(2) Find the titles of book chapters held by other libraries, which can be requested on Interlibrary Loan.

Requesting Book Chapters:

For instructions on how to obtain book chapters that you would like to use, see the Access Options page on this guide. 


CrossSearch is the Libraries' multi-search "discovery" tool. CrossSearch searches a cross-section of journal articles, newspapers, CDs, images, and many other types of resources available through the libraries. It is also our main library catalog -- the tool you use to find books, journals, films, and other items physically located in the library, as well electronic versions of those items. 

To leave out individual articles and focus on things like books and films, you can use the Catalog Only limit in CrossSearch. 

Watch our video tutorial  to learn more about CrossSearch! 

Search Tips:

Try searching for books using a very basic keyword search. Books tend to be on broad topics, so the terms you search with should be broad, too! Once you've found a few books that look interesting to you, you can use clues from the books to help you find other books. For example.... 

  • Call Numbers. Books on similar subjects are in similar areas of the library. For example, if you search for books on Palestine, you would see pretty quickly that many books have call numbers starting with DS110 (or nearby). This means you can easily go to that section of the library and look through the books in person! 

  • Vocabulary. Check the records in the library catalog for vocabulary in the tables of contents, titles, descriptions or other information that you might use for future searches. 
  • Subjects. Every book in our catalog is marked with at least 1 "tag" that tells you what the book is mostly about, and links together other books on that same topic. You can click on the tags to find a list of all other books using that tag. 

Find Articles & Journals

Recommended Databases:


General (Interdisciplinary)

Journals Online

In addition to the research databases, you can use the Libraries' E-Journals Search to look for articles in specific journals. 

This can be a useful strategy when: 

  • Your professor has recommended specific journals that address your topic; 
  • You notice that the same journals come up frequently while doing your research;
  • You have a citation for a specific article that you would like to read (see the Access Options tab for more).  

Just make sure not to rely too much on one or two specific journals. To get the broadest perspective possible on your topic, it's best practice to use multiple sources. 

Here are some journals you may want to use as a starting point: 

All the information that you will need to find a journal article online, is contained in the article citation. Use the citation to look up the journal in the E-Journals Search.  

The E-Journals search is like a cheatsheet for the databases. It will tell you which journals we have online access to, for which dates, and in which databases. You can find some tips for using the E-Journals portal here. Follow the citation to browse to the journal (and, if applicable, volume and issue) you need. 

Can't find the journal in E-Journals? Check to see if we have a copy in the library. 

Special Search Tools 
Databases focused on a particular subject area (often called subject or subject-specific databases) often come with special features geared towards the needs of that subject area. 
Historical Period Searches

One such tool can be found in the Historical Abstracts and America History & Life databases. Most databases will allow you to search for articles published within a certain time-frame, but this is not as useful if you are trying to locate information on a specific historical era -- you won't be looking for (secondary) sources published in the 1800s! 

These databases include Historical Period information for each article, allowing you to search for articles about a specific time period.  

Journals in the Library

Just like with online journals, everything you need to find a journal article in print in the library can be found in the citation. The steps are just a little bit different! 

To start, search for the name of the journal (not the specific article) in CrossSearch or the Library Catalog -- just like you would for a book. 

 If we own the journal, you will see a record like this: 

In the library, you can use the call number to find the correct journal volume.  Match the volume number and year against the citation. Then, find the issue (if there is one) and page number listed in the citation inside the journal volume.