Primary and Secondary Sources
What is the Difference Between a Primary Source and a Secondary Source?
According to A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian (
"Primary sources are original works—diaries, letters, manuscripts, images, films, film scripts, recordings, musical scores, and ... data collected through observation and experiment."
Information from Bowdoin College Library LibGuide
Some questions to consider once you have your topic:
- What specifically do you want to know about a topic?
- How can you broaden or narrow your topic?
- Identify key concepts and words, time periods, groups/individuals, geographic locations
- Try posing your topic as a question.
Determine all possible sources
- What databases are offered in your school library? Explore these and discuss with your librarian to find out.
- Could any specific books be of use?
Find information within sources
- Online & Databases: Use Advanced Search functions
- Use quotations (“26th of July movement”), Boolean operators AND, OR (the mob AND Cuba) when possible
- Keep track of important facts and concepts in your notes
- Use indexes, references and bibliographies, site maps, abstracts, Tables of Contents, etc. whenever possible to save time
Information adapted from Ms.Bishop at the Hun School of Princeton