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HIST 300: Intro to the History Major

Finding Background Information
Use these sources to gain familiarity with your topic, narrow your research question, provide context, and identify experts.


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Choosing a Topic
Taking the time to carefully choose and refine your topic can save you significant time and effort later in your research.

Primary and Secondary Sources in History

Primary sources = Evidence

  • Created during the time period or event you are studying, or produced by a participant (even if after the fact)
  • Primary sources are defined by how they are used (i.e. as evidence for interpretation of the past) rather than by what they are (i.e. format or type of material)

Secondary sources = Analysis and interpretation

  • Written by historians, scholars, and other researchers
  • Secondary sources are based on the analysis and interpretation of primary evidence and other sources