Date: Check the date of original publication to see if it matches the type period you are studying. If there is an author for your work, check birth/death dates to see if they correspond to the time period you are researching. (note: if the work is facsimile or reprint, you may have a primary source. Limiting sources to a specific date or date range will help you to locate contemporary sources published at the time of an event.
Author: Search a person's name by author (not subject). With this search, you may find diaries, correspondence, personal narratives, etc..
Primary Source Words: Often found in the subject heading of a record, here are some examples:
Pair these terms with the appropriate keyword or subject heading.
Original materials or records on a topic or event that provide direct evidence or first-hand testimony. These records either by particpants or observers of events reflect a point of view at a particular time and allows the historian to study unfiltered evidence and critically develop an interpretation of the past
Time: Can be sources created at the time of the event (e.g., letters and newspaper articles) or after the event (e.g., memoirs, autobiographies or oral history interviews).
Type: May be published or unpublished. Archives and manuscripts are unique, unpublished sources.
Use: How the researcher uses the source generally determines whether it is a primary source or not.
What: Varies by discipline, but personal correspondence and diaries or papers are considered to be primary sources by all disciplines.
For the historian there are a wide range of sources for research. The list below are examples of some of those primary sources
Distinguish primary sources from secondary and tertiary sources
Secondary sources are works that interpret the primary data. Examples would include a book examinging women leaders in the Civil Rights movement, or a journal article about the role of tobacco in Louisiana pre Civil War economy, Tertiary sources, on the other hand, are even farther removed from the primary source. They are works that use secondary sources Encyclopedias are examples of tertiary sources.
First Steps: After doing some preliminary background information, think about what sources would serve your research need.
Here are some of the primary sources that you will find in this database:
- A true and just recorde, of the information, examination and confession of all witches taken at S. Oses in the County of Essex (Thomas Dawson, 1582)
-The discouerie of witchcraft vvherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notabale detected... (Excerpted from Reginald Scot, 1582)
-A dialogue concerning witches and witchcraftes In which is laide open how craftely the Dieull deceiueth not onely the witches but many other and so leadeth them awry into many great errours.( Excerpted from George Gifford, 1593)
- Daemonologie in forme of a dialogue. (Excerpted from King James I, 1597)
- A discourse of the damned art of witchcraft so farre forth as it is reuealed in the Scriptures, and manifest by true experience. (William Perkins, 1608)