American Women's History: A Research Guide
Thesis Checklist
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One of the goals of this research guide is to inform serious researchers of the tools available for extensive literature searches. However, these tools are described in different locations within the guide. The Thesis Checklist simply lists the most important of these tools on a single page.

  1. Agree on a topic with your advisor. Ask her about appropriate sources to begin reading.
  2. Find a copy of a good general guide that takes you through the steps of researching and writing a thesis. The following titles are excellent:

    Mauch, James E., and Jack W. Birch. Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation. 3rd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1993.

  3. Become familiar with American Women's History: An Online Research Guide. It describes in more detail the various tools noted below, and cites key reference works that serve as useful starting points in the research process.
  4. Search Dissertation Abstracts to determine if anyone has already completed a thesis/dissertation on your topic.
  5. Search your local library catalog.
  6. Search America: History & Life for journal articles and for dissertations. Although book titles are also covered in this database, some of the databases listed below generally provide better coverage.
  7. Search WorldCat for books, dissertations & theses, and manuscript collections.
  8. Search Arts & Humanities Citation Index While searching the other databases, as well as in your reading, note key authors and book titles. This database allows one to determine which sources cited such authors and titles.
  9. Pay close attention to the notes and bibliography sections of books and articles you are reading.
  10. After completing the above steps, post your research topic to an appropriate listserv. Note the sources you have already tried.
  11. If at any point you are having trouble, ask local librarians and archivists for assistance. They may know of additional bibliographies and other sources that the databases noted above do not cover.

American Women's History: A Research Guide

Ken Middleton
Todd Library, Middle Tennessee State University