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History 314: War and Society in Premodern Europe: Secondary Sources: Books

Working with Monographs

Questions to ask as you evaluate scholarly books:

  1. What is the scholar's argument?  How does this argument fit in with other scholarly approaches to the topic?
  2. How have other scholars reacted to or used this resource?  Look for book reviews; do a citation search in Google Scholar.
  3. What primary sources does the scholar analyze?  You might want to track down some of them, or you might want to base your argument on a different set of primary sources.
  4. What scholarly work seems to have influenced this scholar the most? 

Book Reviews

By consulting book reviews of the scholarly works you are reading, you can gain a better understanding of the place of a particular work within the field.  Here are a few tips for locating book reviews:

  • JSTOR
    • Select the "advanced search" option.
    • Type (in quotation marks) the title of the book for which you seek reviews.
    • Under the limiter options, select "review" in the "Type" category. 
  • H-Net Reviews: an online scholarly review resource
  • ITER
    • Click on "Iter Bibliography"
    • Type (in quotation marks) the title of the book for which you seek reviews.
    • For type of work, select "review."
    • When you find a review, click on the record and then "check for full text."
    • If the "check for full text" link isn't working (which sometimes happens with this database), then simply do a journal search in Primo.

Search Primo

Google Scholar Cited Reference Search

Google Scholar can help you find articles which have cited an article that you have found. Frequent citation is often (but not always!) a marker for a particularly influential scholarly work.

Step 1: When looking at search results, check for the 'Cited by X' link underneath each result. That will tell you how many subsequent articles (that Google Scholar is aware of) have cited this particular article or book.

Step 2: Click that link, and you will be taken to a new set of results, all of which have cited the original article, which will still be listed at the top of the page. 

Google Scholar Search

Google Books

Google Books can be extraordinarily useful for getting inside books and finding relevant scholarship.  For best scholarly practices, you should then track down that book in Primo so that you can evaluate the book as a whole.

Google Book Search