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European Studies: Research Strategies & Tools

This webpage provides resources to help you find more information on the themes and topics of the course.

Most of the databases on this page are restricted to UW students, staff and faculty. These are marked with a lock UW Restricted. To connect to these databases from home you will need to first click on the Off-Campus Access button in the upper-right hand corner and login with your UWnetid.

Have questions or need research help? Please contact Theresa Mudrock, the history librarian, via email at The European Studies Librarian, Anna Bjartmarsdottir Sveinbjornsson, is on leave spring quarter.

Start Here to Find Background Information


Encyclopedias and other reference sources can provide background information and can be used to identify key people, events and dates which can then be used as search terms for finding additional information. More importantly, because encyclopedias often cover the major issues surrounding the subject, they can help you narrow your research from a broad "who, what, where, when" topic to a "how or why" question. Many also provide a jumpstart on your research by listing related readings.

Two searchable collections of encyclopedias are UW Restricted Gale Virtual Reference and UW Restricted Oxford Reference Online.

  • Encyclopedia of contemporary German culture - Suzzallo Reference DD290.26 .E53 1999
  • Encyclopedia of European social history from 1350 to 2000 - Suzzallo Reference HN373 .E63 2000
  • Europe: a concise encyclopedia of the European Union - Suzzallo Reference JN30 .L42 2000
  • Europe since 1914: encyclopedia of the age of war and reconstruction - Suzzallo Reference D424 .E94 2006
  • Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia - Suzzallo Reference D1058 .E8754 2001
  • Historical dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870-1940 - Suzzallo Reference DC337 .H57 1986
  • Historical dictionary of modern Spain, 1700-1988 - Suzzallo Reference DP192 .H57 1990
  • Modern Germany: an encyclopedia - Suzzallo Reference DD14 .M64 1998
  • UW Restricted The Oxford encyclopedia of economic history

Start Here to Find Books


Non-fiction books can provide both an overview and indepth analysis of a topic, event or person. Many books will include footnotes and bibliography that can lead you to other research/writings on the topic.

Book reviews can be useful when evaluating a book or to get a quick synopsis. Use the databases listed in the next section to find book reviews.

  • UW Libraries Catalog - holdings of the UW Libraries. Best used for known-item searching especially journal titles and ebooks and when you want to find just what is available on campus or in a specific branch of the UW Libraries.
  • UW Restricted UW WorldCat - Mega-catalog that simultaneously searches the UW Libraries Catalog and other libraries in the region and worldwide, also includes some citations to articles. Best used for topical searches and for requesting books from other libraries.
  • UW Restricted Dissertations & Theses Fulltext - index to dissertations written nationwide; some fulltext (especially disserations written since 1997)

Start Here to Find Academic/Scholarly Articles


Academic articles, those published in scholarly journals, are the bedrock of most academic disciplines. In the field of historical research, they are considered secondary sources. They provide an indepth analysis of narrow topics. Prior to publishing, articles are vetted through a process called peer-review.

Most academic articles and books include footnotes or a bibliography which can lead you to primary sources (and additional secondary sources) on a topic.

To find the actual article (either in print or electronic), use the Check for UW Holdings button available on most databases to locate a copy. If there is no button, search the UW Libraries Catalog for the title of the journal.

Articles from journals which the UW does not own can be requested via Interlibrary loan.


Start Here to Find Current Newspapers


Newspapers may be one of the only sources available for a very current topic. In historic terms, newspapers are a primary source providing a first rough draft of events. Since most newspapers are local in scope, there is good coverage of local issues.

Most current newspapers are available online either thru the newspaper's website (often no archive of past issues) or via newspaper databases (usually the online archive dates back a at least 10 years) that the Library subscribes to. Older newspapers may be available on microfilm in the Microform and Newspaper Collections (mcnews) on the ground of Suzzallo. The best way to check and see if we have a specific newspaper on microfilm is to use the card catalog located in mcnews.


Start Here to Find Government Reports

parliamentary paper    

The UW Libraries has a substantial collection of international and non-US documents including Parliamentary material from some Western European nations. Check with the librarians in the Government Documents section on the ground floor of Suzzallo for help.

For help finding EU documents, contact David Maack the International Government Publications Librarian at

To find governmental websites for specific nations see Foreign Government Resources on the Web.


Start Here to Find Websites


The Web is a growing source of information. These websites provide access points to European websites that may be useful.

See History on the Web: Europe for additional websites.


History Subject Guide | Western European Studies Subject Guide | Research 101 tutorial

Created by: t.mudrock
Last modified: Tuesday March 31, 2009 (mudrock)