Evaluating sources   There are several questions you should    ask yourself when evaluating the                          ...
What is a primary source?                                                                         Finding Sources: Databas...
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Primary/Secondary Sources Help Guide


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Primary/Secondary Sources Help Guide

  1. 1. Evaluating sources There are several questions you should ask yourself when evaluating the U. Grant Miller legitimacy and authority of a source. Library Who is responsible for the source?  Government, library, and museum websites tend to have accurate information.  What are the author’s credentials? What qualifies him or Help Guide her to write about this subject? What is the purpose of the source?  Websites can be created for any number of reasons. Try to find an Primary and “About” page to help determine the reliability of the site. Secondary Sources Where does the information come from?  Look for citations to see where the author found the information.  Is the document scanned or transcribed? A scanned image is usually of the original document. Your professor hands you With a transcribed document, it’s a writing assignment and important to find the original to one of the requirements is make sure the transcription is complete and accurate. to use both primary and secondary sources. What does that even mean? This guide defines primary and secondary sources. Citing Primary Sources Citations can be difficult, especially Washington & Jefferson College when it comes to primary sources. 60 S. Lincoln St. Washington, PA 15301 Use the following website to learn how Phone: 724-223-6070 User Services to cite primary sources in MLA and Phone: 724-223-6072 Research Services Chicago citation styles: Fax: 724-223-5272 http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimar www.washjeff.edu/library ysources/citing.html Washington & Jefferson College
  2. 2. What is a primary source? Finding Sources: Databases A primary source is an original document  W&J’s library has many databases created at the time an event occurred. available for students to access both Primary sources can include letters, primary and secondary sources. newspapers, journals, diaries, speeches,  For primary sources, try: interviews, photographs, video footage, Examples  CAMIO works of art, eyewitness accounts, and  LexisNexis Academic more.  MEDLINE Primary Source Secondary Source  ScienceDirect  For secondary sources, try:  Academic Search Elite What is a secondary source?  Art Index—Book Reviews The Diary of Anne “The Utopian Space of  Book Review Digest Plus A secondary source is written about a pri- Frank a Nightmare: The  Britannica.com mary source. Diary of Anne Frank,”  Contemporary Authors Database Secondary sources analyze, interpret, or by Barbara Chiarello  Humanities International Complete comment on primary sources. in Utopian Studies,  JSTOR Secondary sources are removed one or 1994, 5.1, p. 128-140.  Points of View Reference Center more steps from the actual event.  Project Muse Patient Protection and Editorial on  Some of our EBSCO database have Secondary sources can include textbooks, Affordable Care Act of nytimes.com “A primary source documents. Choose biographies, encyclopedias, criticisms, 2010 Moment of Truth for “primary source document” under reviews, and more. Health Care Reform” Publication Type if available when by Lincoln Caplan and searching. Philip M. Boffey, March 24, 2012. Understanding primary and secondary The Hunger Games Review of The Hunger Finding Sources: Websites sources by Suzanne Collins Games in Kirkus Reviews, 2008, 76.17,  For primary sources, try: Need more help understanding the p. 941.  Library of Congress’s Digital difference between primary and secondary The Gettysburg “Rereading the Collections sources and how to use them? Check out Address by Abraham Gettysburg Address: http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch- the following websites: Lincoln Social Change and digital.html  Using Primary Sources on the Web Collective Memory,”  Smithsonian Institution http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/u by Barry Schwartz in http://www.si.edu/Collections singprimarysources Qualitative Sociology,  C-SPAN Video Library  Primary vs. Secondary Sources 1996, 19.3, p. 395- http://www.c- http://www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/p 422. spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/ rimary2.html  FDsys http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ Try Googling “primary and secondary  For secondary sources, try: sources” to find more library websites that  Editorials/opinions on newspaper define and explain these two kinds of websites like nytimes.com sources.  Popular magazine websites like Time