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The purpose of this guide is to provide a portal to primary and secondary material related to the cultural clash between European peoples with three different non-European cultures: the Mongol Empire, the Aztec Empire and the People of the Congo region in Africa.
This guide should point you to information sources that identify relevant material and help you obtain the items identified.
Given the scope of these themes and the variety of potential research topics, it can't hope to do more than that.
The research process often raises questions just as it provides answers. As questions arise don't hesitate to consult library staff for help. We want to help you work efficiently and get the most out of the library and its collections.
As you begin, ask yourself:
- What language or vocabulary describes the topic?
- What KEYWORDS, related and synonymous terms come to mind?
- Be aware of spelling variations, e.g. Genghis Khan or Chingiz Khan, or Chinggis Khan; name variations, e.g. Hernán or Hernando Cortés
- What sort of material do you want to read or view, i.e. books, articles, images?
- Where will you find "academic" quality material?
- How should you evaluate print and online sources?
We encourage you to use books and published articles in our online databases as much as possible. But sometimes a Google search is necessary. Evaluate your resources for relevance and accuracy especially if they are web sources. Here are a few things to remember.
- Authority - Are the authors considered to be experts in their field of research? What are their credentials? (You should check to see if the author has earned a higher degree in their field of research as well as checking to see if the resource containing the article is peer reviewed.
- Currency - Initially look for resources that have been published within the last 5-10 year. Given your topic you may need to look at materials older than 10 years.
- Relevance - Does this resource answer your research question? If not, you will need to keep looking.
- Accuracy - Is the information accurate? Are there additional resources (reference books, other authors) that confirm what you have already found? Are there footnotes and/or a bibliography that you can check?
- Purpose and Intent - Is the material written for a particular audience? Is the author attempting to inform, persuade, or sell the reader something? Is the source biased? If so, does it affect the quality of the information? (Please avoid opinion pieces) Is the resource a primary source? Does it present original research or is it reports from individuals from a particular time period such as diaries, memoirs, or letters?