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Western Heights Middle LibGuide

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Recommended Databases

These databases are offered by the Washington County Free Library.

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Websites with Primary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary Resources

PRIMARY SOURCES

Original, first-hand account of an event or time period

  • —Usually written or made during or close to the event or time period
  • Original, creative writing or works of art
  • —Factual, not interpretive

Primary Source Examples

  • Diaries, journals, and letters
  • Newspaper and magazine articles (factual accounts)
  • Government records (census, marriage, military)
  • Photographs, maps, postcards, posters
  • Recorded or transcribed speeches
  • Interviews with participants or witnesses
  • Interviews with people who lived during a particular time
  • Songs, Plays, novels, stories
  • Paintings, drawings, and sculptures
How can primary sources be used in research?
  • —Central point of a discussion
  • —To back up claims and criticisms
  • —Evidence for theories and research
  • —Historical perspective

SECONDARY RESOURCES

Written by scholars or observers after the fact, that analyze and interpret primary sources or events

  • —Second-hand account of an historical event
  • —Interprets creative work
  • —Reexamines and forms conclusions
Secondary Source Examples
  • —Biographies
  • —Histories
  • —Literary Criticism
  • —Book, Art, and Theater Reviews
  • —Newspaper articles that interpret, report on a story

How can secondary resources be used in research?

  • —Provide background information to understand the topic
  • —See what others discussed and opinions expressed
  • —Learn how events relate to the “bigger picture”
  • —Understand the importance of events, data, or works of art and literature