Difference between revisions of "Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources"

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*The range of disciplines that make up the '''Humanities''' can vary between institutions but in general, they "investigate the human condition, using primarily analytical, critical, or speculative methods.  
 
*The range of disciplines that make up the '''Humanities''' can vary between institutions but in general, they "investigate the human condition, using primarily analytical, critical, or speculative methods.  
*(The humanities include (but are not limited to) ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre (''[http://www.fedcan.ca/en/about/cfhss/humanities-and-social-sciences Canadian Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences]'')."  
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*The humanities include (but are not limited to) ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre (''[http://www.fedcan.ca/en/about/cfhss/humanities-and-social-sciences Canadian Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences]'')."  
 
**Note, some disciplines are commonly considered to be part of the Humanities ''and'' the Social Sciences, such as history, law, anthropology and linguistics
 
**Note, some disciplines are commonly considered to be part of the Humanities ''and'' the Social Sciences, such as history, law, anthropology and linguistics
  
*'''Social Sciences''' refers to "fields of study that may involve more empirical methods to consider society and human behaviour *(These include) anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, linguistics, political science and international relations, sociology, geography, law, and psychology ([http://www.fedcan.ca/en/about/cfhss/humanities-and-social-sciences ibid])."
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*'''Social Sciences''' refers to "fields of study that may involve more empirical methods to consider society and human behaviour
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*(These include) anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, linguistics, political science and international relations, sociology, geography, law, and psychology ([http://www.fedcan.ca/en/about/cfhss/humanities-and-social-sciences ibid])."
  
 
*The term '''Sciences''' usually refers to disciplines in the natural or physical sciences.....
 
*The term '''Sciences''' usually refers to disciplines in the natural or physical sciences.....

Revision as of 13:47, 19 June 2012

Definitions

What are Primary Sources?

Primary Sources are the direct evidence or first hand accounts of events without secondary analysis or interpretation. A primary source is a work that was written or created at a time that is contemporary or nearly contemporary with the period or subject being studied.

The definition of a primary source can change depending upon the academic discipline and the context in which it is used. Click the relevant tab in this guide for tips to finding primary sources for disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.

What are the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences?

  • The range of disciplines that make up the Humanities can vary between institutions but in general, they "investigate the human condition, using primarily analytical, critical, or speculative methods.
  • The humanities include (but are not limited to) ancient and modern languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre (Canadian Federation for the Humanities & Social Sciences)."
    • Note, some disciplines are commonly considered to be part of the Humanities and the Social Sciences, such as history, law, anthropology and linguistics
  • Social Sciences refers to "fields of study that may involve more empirical methods to consider society and human behaviour
  • (These include) anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, linguistics, political science and international relations, sociology, geography, law, and psychology (ibid)."
  • The term Sciences usually refers to disciplines in the natural or physical sciences.....

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary Sources analyze or interpret an historical event or artistic work. Secondary sources often base their theories and arguments on the direct evidence found in primary sources. A secondary work for a subject is one that discusses the subject but is written after the time contemporary with it.

Humanities

In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.

Formats of Primary Sources

  • Personal records or documents: diaries, journals, letters, manuscripts, speeches, and papers
  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Government documents and records
  • Published materials: books, magazine and journal articles, reports, newspaper articles written at the time
  • Visual Materials/Creative Works: photographs, paintings, sculptures, films, video recordings, plays, scripts
  • Artifacts: physical objects from that time, such as clothes, furniture, toys, and buildings

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

Try a keyword search in the library catalogue combining your subject with words that identify a particular genre:

  • correspondence, letters, papers
  • diaries, journals, manuscripts
  • personal narratives, oral histories
  • interviews, transcripts
  • sources
  • travel writing, travelogue


Social Sciences

In the social sciences, the definition of a primary source would be expanded to include numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment.

Formats of Primary Sources

  • numerical data and statistics

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

Try a keyword search in the library catalogue combining your subject with words that identify a particular genre:

  • personal narratives, oral histories
  • interviews, transcripts


Sciences

In the sciences, the definition of a primary source would be

Formats of Primary Sources

  • numerical data and statistics

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

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