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History Research Guide   Tags: hist, history, history education, history study  

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2014 URL: http://libguides.lib.siu.edu/history Print Guide RSS Updates

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Suggested Readings


Cover Art
The Caribbean: A Brief History - Gad Heuman
Call Number: F2175 .H48 2014x
ISBN: 1780936028
Publication Date: 2014

Cover Art
The French Revolution: Faith, Desire, and Politics - Noah C. Shusterman
Call Number: Electronic Resources
ISBN: 0415660211
Publication Date: 2013

Cover Art
Women in the Ancient Near East: A Sourcebook - Mark Chavalas
Call Number: Electronic Resources
ISBN: 0415448565
Publication Date: 2013


 

Search I-Share @ Morris Library, the library's catalog

Search books, journals, government documents, videos, DVDs, music CDs, and music scores.

Search I-Share @ Morris Library

Can't find it at Morris?

Request items from around the world through Interlibrary Loan.

  • Interlibrary Loan
    If there's a book not in I-Share, we'll find it. If there's an article that says "We don't have this online," we will get it for you. Just sign up for an Interlibrary Loan account (click First-Time User). Request articles through "Request a Photocopy".
  • WorldCat  
      
    Worldwide catalog of library resources. See if it's in I-Share, SIU, or locate items to request via ILL.

Dissertations and Theses

 

What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence that is usually recorded or created during the time period of the topic under investigation.

This differs from a secondary source, which interprets or analyzes historical events, and can be recorded or created anywhere from days to centuries later.

Locating and Evaluating Primary Sources

There are a number of ways to locate and access primary sources:

  • Reprinted sources published in books or collections, i.e. diaries, correspondence, speeches. (I-Share or I-Share online catalog found at www.lib.siu.edu)
  • Digital library initiatives such as the Library of Congress’ American Memory Digital Library. (internet search)
  • Original materials housed in archives and manuscript repositories. (internet search; published directories of archives and manuscript repositories)

The ability to determine the authenticity and research value of primary source material is a skill that needs to be developed over time. There are a number of criteria that should be considered when evaluating each source, including:

  • Author/Creator: How well situated was s/he to observe or record the events in question? What was the author’s physical location? Were they an eyewitness or did they get the information from another?
  • Content: What is the document about?
  • Additional information: What else do you need to know in order to fully understand the document – do you need to look up names, places, dates, and/or technical terms?
  • Date of creation: How soon after the event was the record created?
  • Intended audience: When, how, and for whom was the record created?
  • Potential biases: Is there bias, either in the report or in yourself that must be accounted for? Might the person’s social or economic position have influenced knowledge that could affect the credibility of the record?
  • Authenticity: Is it original, digital, reprinted, etc.?
  • Reliability: Is there corroboration?
  • Is it relevant to your research?
      

    Government Documents

    Government documents can be excellent primary sources for use in history papers and projects. We have created a guide with detailed information about the many different types of government documents available:

    Digital Libraries

     

    OpenSIUC

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