Combined Arms Research Library
Historical Research for MMAS Students
The Research Process
The Research Process
Step 1: Clearly Define Your Topic or "Information Need"
Other Things to Consider:
Step 2 Collect / Find Information
Reference Tools: there are a wide variety of reference tools found in both print and online formats. Often, you'll find some ideally suited for your topic. Reference materials point you to other sources of information.
Books: try searching the CARL Catalog.
Periodical Literature: Journals, newspapers, and magazines are all valuable sources of information. Print indexes and electronic databases are used to find citations for scholarly articles and other types of periodical articles. Try using the CARL's Databases.
Government and Military Information & Documents: these can be found in a wide variety of formats, including print and electronic. Our Military Publications Page is a great place to begin searching for DoD, Joint, Army, and other military publications. DTIC Public Stinet Database also contains a wealth of military documents, including SAMS Monographs, MMAS Theses, and student papers from schools like the Naval Postgraduate School, Air University, and the Army War College.
The Internet: You can find some great information on the Internet, but you must always carefully evaluate the web pages you find. Educational sites (.edu), US Government sites (.gov), and US Military sites (.mil) are often reliable sources for information. Search engines like Google's Government Search focus specifically on these sites.
Step 3: Evaluate Your Information
The following are the 5 evaluation criteria used in evaluating sources.
Authority: who is responsible for the work, and what are their credentials
Reliability: does the information seem accurate?
Currency: is the information up-to-date?
Completeness: is the information complete or is it just a summary of another work? Information Level? Intended Audience?
Relevancy: does the information source answer your questions?
Step 4: Use and/or Do Something With the Information
Write the paper, give the presentation. Organize your Information - using an outline is always a good idea.
Step 5: Use the Information Ethically and Legally -- Cite Your Sources
Citation: reference to an exact Information Source. Where the author got his/her info.
Citations contain the following minimum information:
Sample book citation for a bibliography in Turabian format:
Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. New York: Pocket Books, 1979.
Sample journal article citation for a bibliography in Turabian format:
Aylwin-Foster, Nigel. "Changing the Army for Counterinsurgency Operations." Military Review 85 (November-December, 2005): 2-15.
Style Guides - show you how to properly cite your
Information Sources. There are 4 main style guides, CGSC uses Turabian.
JSTOR is available here. It is also on our Find Articles Page. It is available at CAC and CGSC. From home you can access it by using your pin (the 12 digit number on the back of your CARL Library Card).
JSTOR is an archive of important scholarly journals, JSTOR offers researchers the ability to retrieve articles in pdf format. JSTOR is not a current issues database. There is a gap, typically from 1 to 5 years, between the most recently published journal issue and the content available in JSTOR. If you need more current articles from a journal in JSTOR, try searching for the journal in our online catalog to find its print holdings or in our E-Journal portal to see if any other databases carry the journal.
From JSTOR's main page, click on "Advanced Search".
Notice the "JSTOR Advanced Search" area, shown below. It allows you to limit your search to specific fields and types of content. One way to narrow your search is to just limit it to the title field or to the abstract. If you're just looking for articles, you can check that box. It also allows you to limit your search to a particular date range or even a specific journal title.
America History and Life -- Historical Abstracts
America History and Life is available here. Historical Abstracts is available here. Both are on our Find Articles Page. They are available at CAC and CGSC. From home you can access them by using your pin (the 12 digit number on the back of your CARL Library Card). They do not contain full text articles, but some provide links to articles located in JSTOR.
America History and Life Indexes and abstracts approximately 2100 scholarly journals covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada. Historical Abstracts is similar, but focuses primarily on the history of the rest of the world. Both use the same search system. Both Databases are available through EBSCOHost. To learn how to search them, see Academic Search Complete (below).
Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is available here. It is also on our Find Articles Page. It is available at CAC and CGSC. From home you can access it by using your pin (the 14 digit number on the back of your CARL Library Card). The search screen, pictured below, allows you to search by type of document, dates, etc. It also allows you to limit your search to full-text articles and Scholarly/Peer reviewed articles.
Once you perform a successful search, you'll receive a list of records.
To view the citation and abstract for the record, click on the title of the article. To view the full text for the article, click on "PDF Full Text".
Some articles will be in pdf format, others will be in html. Some articles will not have full text available, they'll just have abstracts available.
If you find an article that is highly relevant for your search, check its citation and abstract. Descriptors, keywords, authors, and other terms are hyperlinked in the record. The links show you all the records for those terms. For example, if you find warfare as a descriptor, by clicking on the hyperlink for warfare, you'll find every record in Academic Search premier that uses warfare as a descriptor.
DTIC ONLINE ADVANCED SEARCH
DTIC's Advanced Search is available at the following url http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/search/advanced_search.html
It is a public database, accessible from any computer with an internet connection. You can also find a link to it on CARL's Find Articles page at http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/databases/db_data.asp
When searching, use the word "AND" to limit your results. Use the word "OR" to expand your results.
Use the * to truncate words. The * will find any any combination of letters after the root of the word.
NEED A DOCUMENT THAT IS NOT ONLINE?
If you require a document from DTIC that is not available in full text, ask our reference desk for assistance. If you require a book or journal article that is not online, try searching for the journal in our online catalog to find its print holdings or in our E-Journal portal to see if any other databases carry the journal. You can also stop by the 1st floor reference desk and request the item through interlibrary loan.
Content for "The Research Process" is partially derived from the LSU Libraries Tutorial "The Research Process", available at http://www.lib.lsu.edu/instruction/research/research-process00.html.
Last Reviewed: January 25, 2012