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In order to conduct your research, you will need to use a variety of sources. Your professor may ask you to include primary as well as secondary sources in your research.

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original records created at the time of the historical event. They include first-hand accounts, diaries, manuscripts, letters, journals, historical records, newspapers, speeches, autobiographies, photographs, historic maps, interviews, and memoirs. They form the basis for interpreting the past since they provide eyewitness testimony to events and thoughts of their day.

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources are materials that report, analyze, evaluate, interpret or comment on an event, a primary source or the work of another. They include books, articles from magazines and scholarly journals, literary criticism, reviews, and encyclopedia articles.

Many old and new newspaper and journal articles are available in full text online. Accessing these will be discussed in later modules. Don't forget that there are many valuable resources in print and, for older material, on microfilm.

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