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CI 3110 Social Studies Methods for the Elementary Teacher: Primary Resources

What are Primary Sources?

A primary information source is a record of events that are described or recorded by someone who either participated in or witnessed the events firsthand.

Examples include newspaper accounts, letters, diaries, notebooks, and interviews. 

Primary Sources in Library Databases

Best Bets:

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

The best way to find primary sources in the library catalog is by using Library of Congress Subject Headings, which often include the following words:

  • sources
  • diaries
  • correspondence
  • interviews
  • personal narratives
  • speeches
  • papers of..

However these subject headings are not intuitive, therefore it is best that you do a Keyword search for your topic and one of the words above. Examples:

  • women sources
  • nineteenth century women diaries etc.

Once you find a title of interest, open the record and link to similar sources by clicking on the appropriate subject heading.

Primary Resources on the Internet

Citing & Writing Resources

Belk Library Citation Guidelines Page
Links to examples of MLA, APA, and Chicago Citation Styles

The Owl at Purdue
Offers information on the entire writing process from conducting research to citation styles and grammar.

Appalachian State University Writing Center
Free service that works with writers on a variety of projects: papers for academic courses; masters and senior thesis chapters; personal essays for job, graduate school, and law school applications.

Duke Libraries Guide to Research
Provides guidance during the research process and stresses the importance of properly citing resources to avoid plagiarism.