Read bibliographies and notes of secondary literature carefully. Historians carefully document their sources in footnotes and bibliographies. You can get a sense of the scholars writing in your field, the kinds of questions that have characterized debates about your topic, methodological and theoretical approaches. Similar, you can learn a lot about primary sources relevant for your research. This is helpful not only for identifying specific primary sources, but you can also get a general sense of the kinds of sources historians have used to research a topic.
Use these resources to get an overview of topics related to your research, to familiarize yourself with names, places, concepts important to your topic, and to get recommendations for books and articles on your topic. Return to them as you are refining your topic, or as you need clarification while doing your research.
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