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HIST 203: Canada Since 1867

Research guide for HIST 203 (Winter 2024)

Finding Secondary Sources: Scholarly Articles

To find recent scholarly articles about Canadian history, the best database to search is:

All the journals indexed in these indexes are scholarly ones, but review the points about scholarly and popular works mentioned above, as not all items are peer-reviewed.   

As with books, one useful way is to find the appropriate subject headings used by the index. Subject headings are useful because they bring all the articles on a given subject together, regardless of the keywords in the articles' title or abstract.

One way to approach subject headings is to start with some words you know to be appropriate for your topic. Look at the “full record” for the articles you find. What are the subject headings? Which of the headings on the records is the most appropriate for the aspects of your topic that you want to study? Click on that heading to search for more articles tagged with the same subject.

The “historical period” limiter in America: History and Life is particularly useful. Use this feature to narrow down your search by selecting the time period you are studying:

One type of article to beware of is book reviews. While these can be very interesting and will tell you a lot about the subject and the specific book they are reviewing, a book review is not an article about a subject; it is an article about a book, and that is a different matter. Consider excluding book reviews when searching for a peer-reviewed article.

Other databases to search include:


The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, which currently covers people who died before 1930, is a useful source for secondary scholarly articles by and about individuals.

References in modern secondary works, either articles or chapters of books dealing with your topic are also a useful source for finding still more relevant works. But remember, while you can build up a very useful chain of references, it will only lead backwards in time. More recent references will only come from resources like America: History & Life (which automatically sorts results to newest, rather than by relevance).

A recent article by a recognized scholar on any subject will usually be a good starting point for that subject.

A recent scholarly article is not only a good starting point for your research, but it is also one of the best sources for all your other primary and secondary sources. If you are missing any of the items, you might be able to find them here.

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