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Research Basics - All Subjects

Montgomery Library's Guide to Research Basics

What are Primary Sources?

A primary source of information is a record of an event as described or experienced by someone who witnessed or was part of the event as it was happening.

Types of primary sources include:

diaries and journals
letters
interviews
speeches
newspaper and magazine eye-witness accounts
photos, images, and cartoons
autobiographies
film and video footage of an event as it occurred
documents contemporary to the time produced by governments and organizations
public opinion polls from the time period under study
archaeological artifacts
maps 

 

Finding Primary Sources

Find primary sources in library catalogs and other searchable online databases by combining subject terms with some of the following keywords describing primary sources:

autobiography
correspondence
diaries
interviews
pamphlets
personal narratives
sources
speeches
 
An example of combining subject terms with a primary source term:
 
           women and voting and pamphlets
 
Learn how to combine keywords and phrases in an advanced search known as a  Boolean Search.