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HST 205: The U.S. South (Hunter): Scholarly & Primary Sources

What Makes a Source Academic?

Table describing criteria of academic sources

Beyond Academic - Peer-Review

What is peer-review?

When an academic/scholarly article goes through an extremely rigourous process of "review by peers" in the professional field, we say that the article has been peer-reviewed. It adds additional credibility when an article goes through this process before being published, or even accepted for publication. 

The process of peer review is similar to having someone edit your paper. They catch a lot of mistakes that perhaps you would not. However, peer review goes beyond simple editing - those reviewing the work are subject experts who know the field of study. They can point out mistakes in methodology, or gaps in a literature review. They can make sure that the argument is well-supported. 

Network by Ann Fandrey of the Noun Project.

Used under Public Domain 1.0

WorldCat Discovery

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When searching in WorldCat, remember you can limit your searches to archival sources. Newspapers also count as primary sources.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Each team will have a number of sources, the exact number will vary.  For each team presentation there should be a mix of objective, scientific sources as well as journalistic and other opinion or non-objective sources.

Don’t just stop once you find one thing, keep going so that you can look at all your sources and determine which are the most credible and/or useful to your own sub-topic.  Organize your courses according to the type.  Also, you can find sources that may be useful to others on your team.

What is a Primary Source?

"Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience." Library of Congress - Using Primary Sources

Whenever possible, you want to track down the original, primary source.

Primary Sources Secondary Sources      
Original documents Publications
Newspaper or magazine articles Journal articles
Books or pamphlets (first person perspective) Books
Government documents Textbooks
Relics or Artifacts Histories, criticisms
Diaries, letters, manuscripts, speeches, interviews    Commentaries
Maps Encyclopedias
Archival materials
Creative Works
Art  and visual materials
Dramas, poetry, novels

Music, sound recordings




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