Skip to main content

Research Mini-Lessons: Home

Note-taking Strategies

Paraphrasing

Relevant Information

Keeping track of sources

Note-taking system

Text Coding

Creating a Research Question

Primary v. Secondary Sources

Where you can find some primary sources:

 Library of Congress

Life Photo Archive                          National Archives

Newspaper Archive                        NYPL Digital Gallery

Wisconsin Historical Society           World Digital Library

*Start with secondary sources first to gain knowledge of your topic. 

*If you are going to use a quote as primary source you need to find the quote within the original document. Finding the quote in a secondary source is not accepetable as a primary source. Context is important!

*Newspapers can  tricky! Articles from the time period in which the author was a witness is a primary source. Most other articles are secondary. 

Primary Examples Secondary Examples

documents/artifacts are from the time period,
articles are written when the event occurred by someone who witnessed the event

author did not participate in the event, explaining or interpretating an event
Artifacts
Autobiographies
Diaries
Government Records
Interviews with participants
Letters
Manuscripts
Music of the time period
Newspapers, if author witnessed the event
Photographs
Articles about the topic - from books, encyclopedias, magazines
Biographies
Books about the topic written by historians
Documentaries
History textbooks
Interviews with scholars
Most web sites