Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of World Civilization. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the World Civilization books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Atlases
Arranged by geographic area
|Australia: the Complete Encyclopedia||Reference||DU90 .A97 2001|
|Cambridge Encyclopedia of India||Reference||DS405 .E556 2006|
|Cambridge History of Egypt||Reference||DT94 .C36 1998|
|Cambridge History of Japan||Reference||DS835 .C36 1988|
|Cambridge Illustrated History of China||Reference||DS706.E37|
|Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean||Reference||DE59 .C55 1988|
|Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture||Reference||DS33 .C63 2000|
|Concise Encyclopedia of Mexico||Reference||F1204 .C66 2001|
|Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome||Reference||DE59 .E3 2006|
|Encyclopdia Latina: History, Culture and Society in the United S...||Reference||E184 .S75 E587 2005|
|Encyclopedia of Afircan History and Culture||Reference||DT3 .P27 2001|
|Encyclopedia of Afircan Nationas and Cibilizations||Reference||DT14 .E43 2002|
|Encyclopedia of Asian History||Reference||DS31 .E53 1987|
|Encyclopedia of China||Reference||DS705 .P47 1999|
|Encyclopedia of Modern Middle East||Reference||DS43 .E53 1996|
|Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa||Reference||DT2 .E53 1997|
|Encyclopedia of Russian History||Reference||DK36 .P39 1993|
|Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World||Reference||DF16 .S23 2005|
|Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire||Reference||DG270 .B86 2002|
|Historical Dictionary of Iraq||Reference||DS70.9 .G47 2004|
|Japan Encyclopedia||Reference||DS821 .F73 2002|
|Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt||Reference||DT58 .O94 2001|
|Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World||Reference||DS35.53 .O95 1995|
|Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings||Reference||DL65.O94 1997|
Arranged by time period
|Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment||Reference||CB411.B57|
|Cambridge Ancient History||Reference||D57 .C252|
|Cambridge Ancient History||Reference||D57 .C252|
|Cambridge Medieval History||Reference||D117 .C32|
|Cold War||Reference||D839.5 .C65 1992|
|Crusades, The: An Encyclopedia||Reference||D155 .C78 2006|
|Dictionary of the Middle Ages||Reference||D114 .D5 1982|
|Dictionary of Twentieth Century World History||Reference||D419 .P32 1997|
|Early Modern Europe||Reference||D209 .C66 2001|
|Encyclopdia of the Holocaust||Reference||D804.3 .E53 1990|
|Encyclopedia of Renaissance||Reference||CB361 .E52 1999|
|Encyclopedia of the Interwar Years||Reference||D727 .G745 2000|
|Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia||Reference||D1051 .E873 2001|
|Great Events from History: The 19th Century||Reference||D358 .G74 2006|
|Great Lives from History: The 19th Century||Reference||CT119 .G69 2007|
|Hammond Past Worlds||Atlas||G1046 .E15 P3 1988|
|History of World War I||Reference||D521 .H48 2001|
|New Cambridge Modern History||Reference||D208 .N4|
|Oxford Companion to World War II||Reference||D740 .O94 1995|
|Times Atlas of World History||Atlas||G1030 .T54 1993|
Specialized Sources: Religion, Art, Music, Literature & Social Life
|Dictionary of Art||Reference||N31 .D5|
|Handbook of Egyptian Mythology||Reference||BL2441.3 .P56 2002|
|Handbook of Norse Mythology||Reference||BL860 .L56 2001|
|Handbook to Life in Medieval & Early Modern Japan||Reference||DS822.2.D33 2006|
|Mythology of All Races||Reference||BL25 .M8 1964|
|New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology||Reference||BL311 .N43 1968|
|New Oxford Companion to Music||Reference||ML100 .N5 1983|
|Religions of the World||Reference||BL 80.3 .R45 2002|
|Timelines of the Arts and Literature||Reference||NX447.5 .B76|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for World Civilization:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
- Art, Egyptian
- Costume -- History
- Egypt -- Civilization
- Egypt -- History
- France -- History
- Francy -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799
- Great Britain -- History
- Great Britain -- History -- Henry VIII, 1509-1547
- Great Britain -- History -- Tudor, 1485-1603
- Great Britain -- Kings and Rulers
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
- Knights and Knighthood
- Medicine -- History
- Middle Ages
- Mythology, Egyptian
- Slavery -- History
- Witchcraft -- History
- World War, 1914-1918
- World War, 1939-1945
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on World Civilization using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
- Credo Reference
A full-text online reference service that includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, quotations, and many other sources of factual information. Use Credo to get background information on a research topic or become familiar with a new subject. Subjects covered include art, business, food and beverage, geography, history, language, law, literature, medicine, music, philosophy, psychology, religion, science, social sciences, and technology.
A reliable and comprehensive archive of important scholarly journal literature. JSTOR is important if you are doing a research project that needs older information in the arts and sciences. Due to its very nature as a retrospective journal archive, JSTOR does not contain current journal articles. The JSTOR database is unique because the complete back files of core scholarly journals have been digitized, starting with the very first issues, many of which date from the 1800's. Over 4 million pages are available.
- Literature Resource Center
"The Literature Resource Center on GaleNet is a complete literature reference database designed for both the undergraduate and graduate student as well as the sophisticated casual user. Rich in biographical, bibliographical, and critical content, the Literature Resource Center is the premier Internet resource for information on literary figures from all time periods writing in such genres as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more."
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- Best of History Web Sites
Source: The Best of History Web Sites -- The quickest path to a rich variety of content, including multimedia presentations, subject gateways, lesson plans and activities, primary resources, interactive quizzes and games, virtual tours, maps and atlases, statistical collections, and more.
- Historical Text Archive
Source: The HTA -- High quality articles, books, essays, documents, historical photos, and links, screened for content, for a broad range of historical subjects. It was founded in 1990 in Mississippi and is one of the oldest history sites on the Internet. This site is dynamic with regular additions to its contents and its link collection.
- History Channel
Source: A&E Networks -- The Resources are: Discussions, Newsletters, Shop History, The History Channel Magazine, Travel, World Timeline, and Maps.
- Internet Public Library: History
Source: The Internet Public Library -- A public service organization and a learning/teaching environment founded at the University of MichiganSchool of Information and hosted by Drexel University's College of Information Science & Technology.
- Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies
Source: Georgetown University -- The Labyrinth provides free, organized access to electronic resources in medieval studies through a World Wide Web server at Georgetown University. The Labyrinth's easy-to-use menus and links provide connections to databases, services, texts, and images on other servers around the world. Each user will be able to find an Ariadne's thread through the maze of information on the Web.
- Librarians' Index to the Internet: History
Source: Librarians' Internet Index (LII) -- a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter serving California, the nation, and the world. Every Thursday morning we send out our free newsletter, New This Week, which features dozens of high-quality websites carefully selected, described, and organized by our team of librarians. Topics include current events and issues, holidays and seasons, helpful tools for information users, human interest, and more.
- The Holocaust
Source: About.com -- Sponsored by the Holocaust section of their 20th Century History site. Since About.com's Holocaust site was merged into the 20th Century History site, you can find all of the Holocaust content through the links provided.
- Voice of the Shuttle: History Page
Source: VoS -- Woven by Alan Liu and a development team in the University of California, Santa Barbara, English Department. To suggest a link for inclusion, use the “Suggest a Link” button on the relevant page.
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Robert Egan
Last Updated - 28 February 2011