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HIST 202/204 and electives - United States History: Find Articles

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

moon with misty clouds in front

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

Online Databases

The following MCC Library databases contain many history publications.

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