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History 100 - Researching in the Archives

This guide is designed to help HIST100 researchers locate University Archives collections and materials.

Where to begin

1. Gather the info you already know. Include any names of events or groups, the specific year(s) you are researching, what you know about U.S. or world history at the time, the names of administrators or student organizations, etc. 

2. Start with a general search at Cal Poly's Online Collections. Go here to see what we've digitized and learn how to search these collections.

3. Look through secondary sources on your topic to gain more context. Check their citations and footnotes to see what types of sources they consulted. Revise and add to your research notes and try searching again with what you've learned.

4. Get help from archives staff to learn if there are any other collections and items that would be of interest for your research. We can also help you brainstorm further research ideas. Contact us at or schedule an research help zoom meeting.


Student reflections from previous years