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Library Research Guides
Trinity College
Library & Information Technology Services

AMST-340 Sports and American Society(Marston)

Fall 2023

Steps in Researching your topics

General steps in the process of doing library research:

  • Identify a topic of interest
  • Do a little bit of background reading on the topic (Wikipedia or Sports in America: from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century: an Encyclopedia are good tools for this)
  • Refine your topic to a manageable argument if it's too broad a topic
  • Identify keywords that you can use later on in a search. These include: individual sports, athletes, players, leagues, teams, and important events in the development and history of sports in the United States
  • Try a wide range of search terms to locate information. Rarely is there ever a perfect search
  • Ask for help if you get stuck at any place in the research process
  • Talk with your professor, your fellow students or make an appointment with me if you have any questions

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

  • Primary sources are produced by participants in a specific event or time period, or witnesses to an event or period in history.  Examples include: contemporary news and magazine articles, interviews, original photographs, memoirs and autobiographies, as well as material objects

  • Secondary sources are typically books and articles written about a topic, by a non-participant in an historical event or time period. Authors of these works utilize evidence to formulate a thesis and develop a conclusion based on this evidence, which often are primary sources

Searching TIP: Many primary sources can be found within the bibliographies and notes in secondary sources.

If you are unsure about a source, check with your professor or a research librarian to determine whether it can be considered primary or secondary.