Starting Your Search
The easiest way to locate articles on historical topics in scholarly journals is to use Discovery. This service searches the catalog and all of the library's major article databases at one time. Use the advanced search to limit your search to scholarly journals.
You can also search individually through full-text article databases to reduce the number of results. The major databases containing history journals are listed below.
For a comprehensive list of history journals by geographic area or subject, see the Directory of History Journals from the American Historical Association. You can then check Discovery or the catalog to see if the LSU Libraries subscribe to a particular title.
What is an "article"?
So you have to write a history paper... where do you start?
Students often want to start with articles because they are short. But what do we mean when we use the word "article"?
When professors talk about articles, they are usually referring to academic journal articles. If your professor tells you to find one of these, you should definitely do it. If you are free to choose, keep in mind that these kinds of articles are often written at an advanced level on very specialized topics for professional historians. Students new to the subject may find them hard to understand.
Magazine and newspaper articles, on the other hand, while easy to follow, are not necessarily reliable as scholarly resources. They can, however, be excellent primary sources, depending on how you use them. For example, an article in Sports Illustrated on the controversy over Native American sports mascots might be an acceptable scholarly source because it documents popular opinion on the subject.
What about Wikipedia articles? Although it is generally not a good idea to cite Wikipedia in a research paper, if an article is well written, there is nothing wrong with looking at its footnotes or suggestions for further reading. Reading Wikipedia articles for background knowledge is a great way to build your knowledgebase and get a better understanding of the topic. Use those references to help you find sources for your research. Just remember that you will need to evaluate their quality and viewpoint like anything else.
Sometimes you might just want a quick introduction to a subject. If so, an encyclopedia article can be a great place to start, especially one in a specialized encyclopedia. For example, if you are writing a paper on Siberia in World War II, look at something like the Encyclopedia of Russian History. See also the "further reading" section at the end of each article.
Also try reference works like the Cambridge Histories Online. These contain brief, scholarly essays written for general readers. One way to find them is to do an advanced search in Discovery on the library homepage and then limit your search to encyclopedias or reference books under "Publication Type." Selected specialized encyclopedias and reference books are listed under "Reference Resources" at left.