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Primary vs. Secondary Sources
In general, there are three types of resources or sources of information: primary, secondary, and tertiary. It is important to understand these types and to know what type is appropriate for your coursework prior to searching for information.
- Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based, including:
- original written works – poems, diaries, court records, interviews, surveys, and original research/fieldwork, and
- research published in scholarly/academic journals (conducted by the author of the paper)
- Secondary sources are those that describe or analyze primary sources, including:
- reference materials – dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and
- books and articles that interpret, review, or sythesize original research/fieldwork.
- Tertiary sources are those used to organize and locate secondary and primary sources.
- Indexes – provide citations that fully identify a work with information such as author, titles of a book, artile, and/or journal, publisher and publication date, volume and issue number and page numbers.
- Abstracts – summarize the primary or secondary sources,
- Databases – are online indexes that usually include abstracts for each primary or secondary resource, and may also include a digital copy of the resource.
(adapted from definitions posted by Mary Woodley, CSUN Oviatt Library)
Keywords Are Key!
Image by RSvB is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
When you search in academic databases including MCC Library OneSearch, keywords give you the best search results. Next time you search, instead of typing in a long phrase such as "all the research that shows evidence to prove there's no life on the moon," try keywords.
A better search about lunar life would use keywords and look like this:
"life on the moon" and research
The following MCC Library databases contain many history publications.
Academic Search Premier
Search thousands of journals, magazines and newspapers and access full text articles for many results. You can limit results to academic journals.
Arts + Humanities Database
Art, Architecture, Design, History, Philosophy, Music, Literature and Language, Theatre and Cultural Studies. Can also be searched via ProQuest Central.
Black Life In America
Provides comprehensive coverage of the African American experience from the early 18th century to the present day, sourced from more than 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 current and historical Black publications.
Archive of core journals in humanities and social sciences including economics, history, political science, sociology, and ecology,. Full text except for most current 5 years.
Black Freedom Struggle
Expertly selected primary source documents. Visitors will find historical newspaper articles, pamphlets, diaries, correspondence and more from specific time periods in history marked by the opposition African Americans have faced on the road to freedom.
Our largest resource! Search across more than 30 multidisciplinary databases of journals, trade publications, magazines, books, newspapers, reports and videos. Each database is also listed separately in the A-Z list and on the main ProQuest Central search page.
Features essay collections exploring current events through a historical lens.
US History Commons- Digital Commons Network
Brings together free, full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide. Includes peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work.
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