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Browse library resources for Sociology

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary sources were created at the time of an event or period. They are often the product of an eyewitness or an original creator. They might be original reports of an event, artifacts from an event or time period, or creative works, and include:

  • memoirs
  • letters
  • interviews
  • pottery
  • novels
  • poems

Secondary sources interpret, analyze, or contextualize primary sources. They are second-hand interpretations. They might include:

  • documentaries
  • biographies
  • textbooks
  • research articles 


How Do I Find Primary Sources?

Memoirs, Letters, Interviews, & More

Add Primary Source Keywords to Your Search Terms

  • autobiography
  • memoir
  • sources
  • personal narrative*
  • letters
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • diary
  • interview*
  • oral history
  • archives
  • speeches
  • notebooks, sketchbooks

Latin America and history and (letters or correspondence or narratives)

This technique can be used in Summon, MIDCAT, or other databases. Click here for in-depth help.

Statistics and Polls

Archival Collections

Newspaper Articles: Historical

Find a specific newspaper 
Search by title.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Search the archives of several United States newspapers. Earliest is 1851.

Newspaper Research Guide
Detailed assistance finding current and historical newspaper resources.


Search multiple newspaper databases (Summon)

Tip: Use keywords that would have been used during the time period you are researching. After viewing results, narrow by publication date.


Additional Library Resources

Primary Sources on the Web