Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

AMST-496 U.S. Empire and the Asia/Pacific Wars (Nebolon): Start Here

Spring 2020


Yoli Bergstrom-Lynch's picture
Yoli Bergstrom-Lynch

What are Primary Sources?

•Original evidence concerning a topic being investigated
•Associated with the time period and place in which they were created
•Produced by participants in a specific event or time period, witnesses to an event or period in history, or simply people who lived in the distant or recent past
•Some examples of primary sources include: photographs, material objects, place-based objects, advertisements, film and audio recordings, news and newspaper articles, letters, memoirs, and other literary works
•You can discover many primary sources by using secondary sources which analyze and interpret your primary source evidence
Important: Take note of changes in language over time, in word usage and in spelling when searching for information in primary source databases and archives. Words may be misspelled within documents

Secondary Sources: Scholarly Books and Journal Articles

Secondary sources are generally an analysis and interpretation of primary source evidence and artifacts/objects. They may be in the form of books or journal articles. Using secondary sources in your projects can help in the following ways:

  • Provide historical, cultural, social and economic context for your primary sources
  • Identify other secondary and primary sources that you might want to use in your research
  • Identify the location of primary sources either in archives, databases, online etc. This can be especially helpful if you do not know where a copy of the original of a source is located


Jeff Liszka's picture
Jeff Liszka
Library Level A
Room A37