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Government 2305/2306 - Smith, Wanda-Lee: What is Research?

Types of Sources

You have a wealth of resources available to you.  You may select from books (both printed and E-Books), media (such as DVDs), and articles (mostly from databases).  If your instructor allows you to use free web sites, be sure to evaluate them especially carefully.  

Primary vs. Secondary Source

Primary sources are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.

Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources:
Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches, interviews, photographs, notes, subject files, oral histories, autobiographies, travelogues, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, government documents including hearings, reports and statistical data, military service records, manuscripts, archival materials, artifacts, architectural plans, artistic works, works of fiction, music scores, and sound recordings.

Secondary sources put primary sources in context. They summarize, interpret, analyze, or comment on information found in primary sources. Secondary sources are usually written by individuals who did not experience firsthand the events about which they are writing.

Common Examples of SECONDARY Sources:
Biographies, monographs, journal articles, dissertations, theses, essays and encyclopedia articles.

Reference: Shari Salisbury. UTSA Library

Which database should I use?

Evaluate Your Research Resources

The Research Process

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