What, exactly, was the Charity Organization Society? Was it a cluster of affluent women imposing their moral propriety on the poor in the early 20th Century? Or was it the first concerted effort to professionalize previously random, subjective allocations of benefits and entitlements? Thisbook will help researchers explore systematically such fascinating questions and debates in social work and social welfare history. Mastering how to pose historical questions is as essential as finding the answers. This book, from its wide-ranging coverage of historiographic theory to detailed guidelines for conducting oral history and archival research, offers clear and practical research tools: how to design a study, selectprimary sources, understand the vocabulary of archives, determine useful secondary sources, and analyze them all. The book also features a guide to archives and special collections that details their holdings, access and locations, and research grants - essential knowledge for any researcher.The thrill of stumbling across unexplored data in the stacks of a library is notorious. Now, this clearly written pocket guide will help established scholars as well as doctoral students get the most out of historical data.