Secondary sources refer to research sources like books and journal articles. They represent scholarship that has been gathered by a researcher, synthesized, then presented to the academic community. Scholars preparing books and journal articles often use primary source materials in their research. These are the “raw” materials of history—letters, diaries, logs, photographs, personal and business or organizational records, etc. They are created very close to the time of an event and are a contemporaneous record of the event (example: a letter written on a WWI battlefield, a war diary, a photograph of a soldier in his uniform, a newspaper article reporting on a battle). Secondary sources are created from both primary and secondary sources; they have been interpreted by scholars who were not present at an event. Most of the secondary sources you will use include books, journal articles, encyclopedias, maps, etc.
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.
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When searching in WorldCat, remember you can limit your searches to archival sources. Newspapers also count as primary sources.
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.
"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|
|Newspaper or magazine articles||Journal articles|
|Books or pamphlets (first person perspective)||Books|
|Relics or Artifacts||Histories, criticisms|
|Diaries, letters, manuscripts, speeches, interviews||Commentaries|
|Art and visual materials|
|Dramas, poetry, novels|
Music, sound recordings