Main Content

HI 326 - Modern Britain


This guide ties in with the class assignment to analyze an important speech in British history. First, obtain a copy of the speech itself by following the suggestions on Prof. Dubrulle's class website. Start your research by exploring reference resources to obtain background information on the speaker and speech. Next, obtain secondary sources such as books, journal articles, and newspaper articles to learn more about the speaker, his subject matter, and the impact of the speech. If needed, use the Interlibrary Loan service to request books and articles from other libraries. For further assistance, visit the Reference Desk at Geisel Library or contact the liaison librarian to the History department.


Find Background Information

Before delving into scholarly books or journal articles, you may wish to consult reference sources to get background information on the speaker, the issue he was addressing (for example, the Corn Laws or the European Community), and the social and political environment in which the speech was delivered. Reference materials can also help you identify keywords for further searching; for example, the names of important leaders or events. Some reference resources include bibliographies at the ends of each entry or volume, which will point you to additional books and journal articles worth exploring.

Oxford Reference Online
The place to start. This database enables you to search within many of Oxford's highly-regarded reference works in the field of history, including the Oxford Companion to British History and Dictionary of Political Biography.

Britain and the World 1815-1986: A Dictionary of International Relations
     Ref DA45 .W45

Dictionary of National Biography
     Ref DA28 .D55 (22 vols. plus 9 supplemental vols.)

Encyclopedia of European Social History
     Ref HN373 .E63 (6 vols.)

Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era
     Ref DA550 .E527 (4 vols.)

New Cambridge Modern History
     Ref D208 .N4 (14 vols.)

Oxford Companion to World War II
     Ref D740 .O94

Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History
     Ref HC15 .O94 (print version, 5 vols.)

Twentieth Century Britain: An Encyclopedia
     Ref DA566 .T835


Return to top


Find Books

Geisel Library Catalog
To find relevant books, you will want to try a combination of Subject and Keyword searching in the Geisel library catalog. Start by conducting Keyword searches on the issues and events discussed in your speech, and on the name of the speaker himself. When you find a useful book, click on its subject headings to identify similar works. Here are some sample keyword searches:

  • slave* AND (Britain OR British)
  • Corn Law*
  • Disraeli AND (conservativ* OR Tory OR Tories)
  • (Britain OR "United Kingdom") AND ("European Union" OR "European Community")

To find biographical works about your speaker, search his name as a Subject Heading in the format Lastname, Firstname (e.g., O'Connell, Daniel). Biographies will reveal a great deal about the speaker's beliefs and his role in historical events, and may even discuss the speech directly.

For the social and political context of the speech, try performing Subject searches on some of the subject headings listed below. These will find books of a general nature about the historical environment in which the speech was made.

  • Conservative Party (Great Britain)
  • Europe - Politics and Government
  • Great Britain - Foreign Relations
  • Great Britain - History - 18th Century
  • Great Britain - History - 19th Century
  • Great Britain - History - 20th Century
  • Great Britain - History - Victoria, 1837-1901
  • Great Britain - Parliament - History
  • Great Britain - Politics and Government - [Browse for relevant time period]
  • Ireland - Politics and Government - 19th Century
  • Labour Party (Great Britain)
  • World War, 1939 1945 - Great Britain

By searching WorldCat (an online catalog encompassing the holdings of thousands of libraries worldwide), you can identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. Try performing Subject searches on the same subject headings you used or discovered in the Geisel Library catalog. You may wish to combine these Subject search terms with keywords corresponding to the names of people or events.

When you identify a relevant book in WorldCat, consider requesting it through Interlibrary Loan by clicking on the "Request ILL" link in its WorldCat record. Books requested through WorldCat are usually delivered to Geisel Library in 7-10 days, so be sure to start your research early. You will be emailed when your book arrives, and you can check it out for a specified borrowing period.


Return to top


Find Articles

Journal Articles

As with the book catalogs, search the journal databases using keywords related to your topic, combining concepts together using the Boolean AND and OR operators. Once you find relevant articles, examine the subject headings that have been assigned to them and conduct Subject searches on the ones that seem most potentially fruitful. Be sure to read the bibliographies of articles to identify additional sources worth tracking down.

If there is no link to the full text of the article, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Within a week, you should receive an email indicating that the article is available to access.

Historical Abstracts
The best place to start. Be sure to use the Historical Period From/To limiter (down below the full text limiter checkboxes) to specify your time period of interest.

Academic Search Premier
A broad index providing abstracts and some full-text of scholarly and popular journals for a range of academic areas, including history.

America: History and Life
Search this database to find articles on topics that involve the United States. Use the Historical Period From/To limiter to specify your time period of interest.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index  (AHSearch)
This index provides citations to more than 1,300 arts and humanities journals. Watch for the Saint Anselm College label in your search results, indicating that the journal is available at Geisel Library.

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including a number of important history journals. For tips on how to use JSTOR effectively, see our User Guide.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
Search this database for citations and abstracts from journals in political science and related fields. This database is worth searching if your topic has a significant political dimension.

Newspaper Articles

Newspaper articles offer firsthand perspectives on major developments in world history. For this project, they can provide the reactions of major political figures, the media, and the public to the speech that you're analyzing. Try limiting your search to the days or weeks after the speech was delivered, to find articles discussing this response.

Times (London) Digital Archive
This database provides full-text access to every issue of The Times (London) newspaper from 1785 through 1985, except for Sunday editions. It can be searched by keyword and date range, with options to limit to specific sections of the newspaper. To print, use the Print button in the left-side menu rather than the Internet browser's print option, so that the article will fit nicely on the printed page.

New York Times - Historical
This database provides full-text access to every page of the New York Times, from 1851 to 2003. Use the Date Range limiters to narrow your search to a specific time period of interest. This resource will help you find reactions of American politicians and media to the speech. Use the Print link just below the ProQuest logo to use the database's printing feature, which subdivides large articles into multiple printed pages for ease of reading.


Return to top


Selected Websites

These websites were handpicked for the authoritative nature of their content. Although websites do not count toward your minimum source requirement for this paper, they can provide useful information to supplement your secondary sources. Some of the websites below contain primary source documents that may shed light on the events that you're investigating.

EuroDocs: Primary Documents From the United Kingdom
Links to digitized primary source documents from British history, organized by time period.

European Navigator
This website sponsored by the Virtual Resource Center for Knowledge about Europe provides access to important documents from historic events that have impacted Europe.

Victorian Web
This website offers a comprehensive overview of Victorian England, with information such as excerpted texts, primary sources, and original essays organized by topic.


Return to top


Citing Sources

See Professor Dubrulle's webpage on Citing Sources for examples of how to properly cite research materials for this paper.


Return to top



Book cover image for The Governing of Britain, 1688-1848

Hugh Dubrulle

Library Liaison
Jeff Waller

Find Background Information
Find Books
Find Articles
Citing Sources

Subject Guide