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Reliable Information for History Research

Primary Sources

Primary sources provide firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or creative work. Primary sources include

  • historical and legal documents
  • eyewitness testimonies
  • results of experiments
  • statistical data
  • creative writing
  • audio and video recordings
  • speeches
  • art objects
  • interviews
  • surveys
  • fieldwork
  • Internet communications 

They may also include direct accounts documented in newspaper or magazine articles and written at the time of or soon after an event.

Your research topic determines where you should look for primary sources.  Digital primary sources are typically available online through

  • Government Agencies
  • Archives
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • University Centers
  • Scholarly Repositories

Examples of such sources are

Contact an archivist or librarian for assistance finding primary sources that fit your research topic.


Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. They often examine past events, provide biographical accounts, and/or assess someone else's original research.  Secondary sources include

  • articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals
  • books 
  • reviews of books, movies, and creative works


To find secondary sources, consult our library's

  • article databases
  • e-journals, print journals, and journal microfilm collection
  • newspaper databases and microfilm collection
  • discovery catalog
  • reference resources

Contact a librarian for assistance finding secondary sources that support your research needs.

Ask a Librarian

Need more information? Ask a librarian!
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