Getting Started

This guide lists electronic and print resources that will be useful for historical resource. Use the navigation links to jump to relevant sections of this guide.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

In the scope of historical research, primary sources are the evidence left behind by individuals, cultures, and societies. The interpretation of this evidence forms the basis of historical research, offering a window into the past through which historians can examine an event, place, period of time, or other research area through the eyes of those who experienced it firsthand.

Primary sources originate from the time period under investigation, but it can also include autobiographies, memoirs, audio recordings, and other firsthand accounts recorded after-the-fact.

Examples of primary sources:

  • Diaries & Journals
  • Letters
  • Newspapers
  • News Broadcasts
  • Government Documents
  • Business / Organization Documents
  • Maps & City Plans
  • Photographs & Images
  • Literary Texts (written during the time studied)
  • Memoirs & Autobiographes

Secondary sources are the interpretations of a topic made by other historians that draw upon primary sources as well as other secondary sources.

Examples: books, book chapters, journal articles, and your own research paper!