1. Use reference sources (see below) to learn basic facts about your topic, including dates, places, names of individuals and organizations, titles of specific publications, etc.
2. Find and read secondary sources (see Books/Media tab for OskiCat searches and Articles tab for searches in the America: History and Life database).
Make sure you look through the bibliographies of secondary sources, which can lead you to other secondary sources and to primary sources.
3. Search for primary sources (see Primary Sources tab).
More about the writing of papers:
This classic book on writing a college research paper is easily skimmed or deep enough for the truly obsessed researcher, explains the whole research process from initial questioning, through making an argument, all the way to effectively writing your paper.
Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students
Professor Patrick Rael [a Berkeley PhD] has written a comprehensive but easy to skim web guide to writing history papers. Recommended by History Dept faculty.
When you are doing online research, it's best to start with the Library home page; then when you access links in OskiCat or library databases, you will be asked to login with Calnet ID and passphrase.
If you search google for books, journals, etc. - you will not be able to access full text unless you use the EZ proxy bookmarklet. Add this to your bookmarks bar and then click on it any time you use a link that was not found via the UCB Library web site (such as Google).
More information available on the EZproxy guide.
The campus VPN provides an alternate method for off-campus access.