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HIST 174Q - Poverty, Inequality, and Social Justice (Miller, Spring 2024): Finding Primary Sources

Finding Primary Sources

The resources listed in this guide are direct access points to primary documents or collections of primary sources, but remember that a fundamental concept of historical research is the discovery of primary sources through the use of secondary and even tertiary sources.  The bibliographies, reference lists, works cited, or notes sections of academic monograph and journal article should contain either direct citation of primary sources or secondary source pathways to primary sources.  

"Interior of a Boiling House" Antigua 1833

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event or time in history. They are considered original sources that have not yet been interpreted, analyzed, or evaluated by another person.

When you are looking at primary sources, keep in mind these questions:

  • What evidence was created?
    • what is it asking?
    • why was it created?
    • what can it tell you?
    • what can't it tell you?
  • What evidence was saved, and where?
  • What is missing?

Analyzing a Primary Source

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