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ENG 112: English Composition II

Source types

Primary Sources

Primary sources are those documents and resources that come from the time period you are studying. Examples include: newspapers, letters, movies, government documents, etc. These are vital to understanding the historical context of the topic you are working on. They provide valuable information and are the bedrock of historical research.


Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are those sources that have been written about historical events or periods. Examples include: monographs, articles, movies, documentaries, etc. These sources provide interpretations and explanations of these events and seek to explore the impact and importance of the events and developments surrounding them. These sources are influenced by the prevailing interpretation, the times in which they are written, and many other factors. Understanding these sources and their role is to gain an understanding of historiography


Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources are sources that identify and locate primary and secondary sources. These can include bibliographies, indexes, abstracts, encyclopedias, and other reference resources; available in multiple formats, i.e. some are online, others only in print.

It is important to note that these categories, i.e. secondary and tertiary, are not mutually exclusive. A single item may be primary or secondary (or even tertiary) depending on your research topic and the use you make of that item.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources are where you will be working mostly during this project. Understanding how arguments are created, formed, and elaborated on over pages and pages of writing is vital to understanding how the academic and research process works. Some examples of secondary sources are listed below.

Background information

Also known as Tertiary Sources, these works and databases listed below take a lot of information about topics and puts them in one place, making it easier for you to find. Think Wikipedia, but better.

Locating Books

The four things you'll need from the catalog search results to find your item on the library shelves are:

  1. Title
  2. Call Number
  3. Availability  
    (Available, Not Available)
  4. Location   
    (i.e. Circulating Books, Reference, Archives, etc.)