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History 100: A Guide to Research: Getting Started

Off-Campus Access to Resources

Are you accessing the library's online resources from off-campus? All you need to do is to sign in when prompted, with your blue card ID number. Your password will be the last four digits of your ID number, unless you've logged in before and specifically changed it.


User ID: 1234567

Password: 4567

Get Help With Research!

Book a Research Appointment

Book an appointment with a librarian to chat about your research!

Steps for starting your research

A) Pick a general topic! What is the assignment, and what types of related things are interesting to you? Use the acronym PERSIA to find a topic that interests you.

Political: What was the political system like? What conflicts or agreements were there?

Economic: How did the economy work? What kinds of commodities existed and were valued?

Religion: What was religious life like in your society? What objects were created in service of religion, and who did the people worship?

Social: What was social life like? Was there a social hierarchy? What about marriage and relationships?

Intellectual: What was literacy and education like?

Arts: What kinds of art did your society make? Why and how were the artists viewed?

B) Find some background/reference sources on your topic in Garver (silent study!) through Reference Universe, or use one of the online reference sources on the next page. 

C) Take good notes and narrow your topic down. What do you know about it? What else would you like to know?

Using your notes, highlight or underline some keywords you might be able to use. People, places, events, and time periods are useful keywords to note.

D) Take a look at the Reserves List that matches your course content to find books (secondary and tertiary sources that might also contain primary sources) we've pulled out of the collection that might work for your topic. These books live behind the main library desk.

E) Search in a database for scholarly articles and books. Find out more in the Finding Secondary Sources tab of this guide.

Getting Started with Noodle Tools

Noodle Tools is a program that will allow you to organize your research, take notes, and create a bibliography. While it is not the only program capable of helping you manage research, your teacher may ask you to use it for some or all of your time at Andover. 

1. Sign up for Noodle Tools: go to and click "Register." If you have an account from an old school, you'll need to create a new one at PA.

Note: If you are having trouble registering as an individual, make sure you are logged in to PA wireless! If you're off-campus, it's easiest to wait until you're back to sign up.

2. Create a New Project and give it a descriptive name. Choose your citation style (Chicago) and citation level (Advanced)

3. Add a citation by clicking on New Source in the top right corner when you're in your project. Choose what kind of citation you'll be making, and put the information in the boxes. Note that you won't be able to fill out ALL the boxes, just the ones you have information for! Once you know how to put the information in yourself, you can often export citations to Noodle Tools from databases or websites, or you can copy and paste. 

4. Add notecards for each source so you can keep track of your research notes and develop ideas!