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HIST 344: The Age of Industry in America

Let this guide be your guide through Dr. Jackson's biographical history project. Here you'll find resources for finding primary sources, using Chicago/Turabian Style, and some ideas for contextualizing your chosen subject in history.

Source types defined

Determining what kind of source you're dealing with can be challenging, but all fields of research use multiple types. Here are some basic definitions to help you better understand the differences. Also each page of this guide provides some examples available to you for your research.

  • Primary Sources: These are research materials that are straight from the source (primary). These are what you directly analyze in your own research. Basically, they provide the direct evidence for your research. Examples include letters, speeches, poems, photographs, scientific data, maps, Tweets, novels, newspaper articles, and anything else that you analyze as part of your research. Even things that might be secondary sources under other circumstances can be treated as primary sources if you analyze them as part of your research. For example, you could analyze scientific research articles (usually secondary sources) from the 1800s to look for evidence of racial or gender bias.
  • Secondary Sources: These are the written or presented results of analysis (usually of primary sources). These take the form of scholarly journal articles, nonfiction books, conference papers or posters, magazine articles, and other forms of summarizing or reporting on original research.
  • Tertiary Sources: These compile information into one browse-able source. The most common are dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and almanacs. These sources present summarized, organized information.