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Progressive Era: Databases / Articles

What is a Primary or Secondary Source?

Primary sources are the "raw" material of research. They allow one to study evidence firsthand without the interpretations or analyses of others. Examples of primary sources include the following:

  • Autobiographies
  • Birth certificates
  • Court reports
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches
  • Personal narratives
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Government documents

To find Primary Sources in the University Library's online catalog, use  keywords such as "letters," "diaries," "correspondence," "manuscripts," and "narratives" with your topic to find historical documents or first-person accounts.

Secondary sources are the interpretation of historical events and people that provide the student with the author's analyses and evaluations.  Secondary sources allow the student to understand how others have viewed and interpreted the topic or event.

What is a Scholarly Article?

A scholarly or peer-reviewed article is one that is reviewed by a panel of experts in the field. The following are a few characteristics of a scholarly article:

  • An abstract, or summary, before the main text of the article
  • Footnotes and/or bibliographies that cite sources
  • Graphs or charts detailing the research process and/or results
  • Publication by a professional or academic organization
  • Discipline-specific language

Scholarly vs. Popular Journals - Short Video

This short video discusses how to distinguish between scholarly and popular journals.

Primary Source Databases

A selected list of primary source databases.

Secondary Source Databases

A selected list of secondary source databases.

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