How do I begin?
Begin your research by using the databases at your disposal in the Green Library (links to these databases may be found under "Scholarly articles for historical research and literary criticism" on this page). Once you have the spark of an idea or begin to formulate a question, for example: "To what extent did the Berlin blockade exacerbate tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union?" you must identify the key words from your question. Think broadly at first. In the above example, you would choose an appropriate database and search for keywords such as Berlin blockade, Soviet Union, United States, Cold War, military, detente, etc.
Be sure and review the Primer in Boolean Logic tab on the Green Library welcome page; it will guide you through the process of narrowing your research terms and therefore the number of significant results you retrieve in searching for online database sources.
How do historians do research?
The study of history offers students an opportunity to investigate the past, gain perspective on the present, and develop their critical faculties and their imaginations. History provides an integrating principle for the entire learning process, and students gain a sense of human development and interrelatedness and an understanding of social processes. History demands a confrontation with the mythologies and achievements of our own society and with the reality of "otherness," both at home and in the larger world.
The Cold War in documentaries
To get you thinking about how historical occurences, international plitics, and many other factors affect societies, you may wish to review these videos on the beginnings of the Cold War.