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== Definitions ==
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==Primary Sources==
 
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{{Library:Guide_to_Finding_Primary_Sources/Definitions}}
[[File:Yelloweddictionary.JPG|thumb|right|[http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4332381194/ Yellowed Pages] (c) [http://www.flickr.com/people/horiavarlan/  Horia Varlan], [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_CA CC BY 2.0]]]
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{{Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources/Humanities}}
 
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{{Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources/Social Sciences}}
===What are Primary Sources?===
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'''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.
+
 
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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 Sciences?===
+
 
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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 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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**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 including (but not limited to):
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**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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*The term '''Sciences''' usually refers to disciplines in the applied, natural or physical sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, space sciences, medicine and other life sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science and statistics.
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===What are Secondary Sources?===
+
 
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'''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==
+
 
+
[[File:Diary.JPG|thumb|right|[http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdorfman/15846725/ Diary] (c) [http://www.flickr.com/people/bdorfman/  Barnaby Dorfman], [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_CA CC BY 2.0]]]
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'''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, emails, blog posts, and papers
+
*Autobiographies and memoirs
+
*Government documents and records, proceedings & meeting minutes, internal memos
+
*Published materials: books, magazine and journal articles, reports, blog posts, wiki entries, 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
+
 
+
===Finding Primary Sources in the Humanities===
+
 
+
Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a [http://guides.library.ubc.ca/ Library Research guide].  The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources in the Humanities.  Click the "Arts & Humanities" link to bring up the research guides for these topic areas.
+
 
+
*Note, some research guides cross disciplines.  Depending on your topic you may also benefit from looking at these guides:
+
**[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/newspapers Newspapers and News Sources]
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**[http://hss.library.ubc.ca/government-publications/ Government Publications]
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**[http://www.library.ubc.ca/micset/ Microforms]
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**[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/theses Theses & Dissertations]
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+
==Social Sciences==
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[[File:Woolaroc.JPG|thumb|right|[http://www.flickr.com/photos/imarcc/5895839596/ Woolaroc Spiro Mounds artifacts] (c) [http://www.flickr.com/people/imarcc/ Marc Carlson], [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_CA CC BY 2.0]]]
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'''In the social sciences''', a primary source can be defined the same way that it is in the humanities - that is to say it is "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." In addition, empirical studies - and the journal articles which report those studies, as well as numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment are primary sources for social scientists.
+
 
+
===Formats of Primary Sources===
+
 
+
*Numerical Data, statistics, census figures
+
*Surveys, opinion polls, interview transcripts
+
*Journal Articles - reporting on studies
+
*Artifacts from the time under study (e.g., tools, fossils, coins, pottery, clothing, plant/animal specimens etc.)
+
*oral histories
+
*case studies, reports
+
*field notes
+
 
+
=== 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
+
 
+
===Finding Primary Sources in the Social Sciences===
+
 
+
Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a [http://guides.library.ubc.ca/ Library Research guide].  The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources for the Social Sciences.  Click the "Social Sciences" link to bring up a list of guides in these topic areas.
+
 
+
*Note, some research guides cross disciplines.  Depending on your topic you may also benefit from looking at these guides:
+
**[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/newspapers Newspapers and News Sources]
+
**[http://hss.library.ubc.ca/government-publications/ Government Publications]
+
**[http://www.library.ubc.ca/micset/ Microforms]
+
**[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/theses Theses & Dissertations]
+
 
+
 
==Sciences==
 
==Sciences==
 
+
{{Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources/Sciences}}
[[File:Leafcutterbee.JPG|thumb|right|[http://www.flickr.com/photos/theangryblender/6951519937/ Leaf Cutter Bee 4] (c) [http://www.flickr.com/photos/theangryblender/ theangryblender], [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_CA CC BY 2.0]]]
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{{Library:Guide_to_Finding_Primary_Sources/Related_UBC_Library_Guides}}
 
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'''In the sciences''', primary sources, or "primary literature," are sources which report the results of original research. The most common primary sources in the sciences are journal articles or conference papers which describe a new theory or the results of an experiment. In contrast, sources which review the existing literature are "secondary sources." These can include "review articles" in journals, books, encyclopedia entries, and news reports.
+
 
+
The fields of history, philosophy, and sociology of science use primary source materials much like those used in the Humanities.  Students researching in one of these areas should also consult the information in the Humanities section of this guide.
+
 
+
Primary source journal articles in the sciences usually follow a certain structure, with the following sections:
+
*Abstract (summarizing the article)
+
*Introduction (providing a brief review of related literature)
+
*Methods and materials (describing how this original study was set up)
+
*Results (reporting the findings of this study)
+
*Discussion (the implications of this study in relation to other work in the field)
+
 
+
Primary source journal articles (and sometimes, conference proceedings) in the sciences are usually peer-reviewed [link here].
+
 
+
===Formats of Primary Sources===
+
 
+
*Journal articles reporting original research (in contrast to "review articles," which are secondary sources)
+
*Conference papers and proceedings
+
*Technical reports
+
*Dissertations and theses
+
*Patents
+
*Numerical data and statistics
+
*Samples, field notes and plant specimens
+
*Lab notes and journal entries
+
 
+
 
+
=== 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:
+
 
+
*technical reports, diary/ies, journals, lab books
+
*papers, proceedings
+
*patents
+
*studies, results
+
 
+
===Finding Primary Sources in the Sciences===
+
 
+
Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a [http://guides.library.ubc.ca/ Library Research guide].  The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources in the Sciences.  Click the "Applied Sciences," "Natural Sciences" or "Physical Sciences" links to bring up the guides for these topic areas.
+
 
+
*Note, some research guides cross disciplines.  Depending on your topic you may also benefit from looking at these guides:
+
**[http://hss.library.ubc.ca/government-publications/ Government Publications]
+
**[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/theses Theses & Dissertations]
+
 
+
==Related UBC Library Guides==
+
 
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*[http://hss.library.ubc.ca/files/2011/03/Microforms-Major-Collections-List.pdf Major Microform Collections at UBC Library]
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*[http://guides.library.ubc.ca/newspapers Newspapers and News Sources] - UBC Library guide to newspaper collections at UBC Library, full-text online newspapers, both current and historical, from around the world.
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*[http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/ UBC University Archives] - UBC historical documents including UBC Presidents' Annual Reports, Senate Minutes, early documentation on Point Grey campus.
+

Latest revision as of 09:04, 16 July 2013

Primary Sources

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 - Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences have unique types of materials which qualify as primary sources.

What are the Humanities, Social Sciences and 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 including (but not limited to):
    • 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 applied, natural or physical sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, space sciences, medicine and other life sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science and statistics.

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, emails, blog posts, and papers
  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Government documents and records, proceedings & meeting minutes, internal memos
  • Published materials: books, magazine and journal articles, reports, blog posts, wiki entries, 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

Finding Primary Sources in the Humanities

Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a Library Research guide. The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources in the Humanities. Click the "Arts & Humanities" link to bring up the research guides for these topic areas.

Social Sciences

In the social sciences, a primary source can be defined the same way that it is in the humanities - that is to say it is "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." In addition, empirical studies - and the journal articles which report those studies, as well as numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment are primary sources for social scientists.

Formats of Primary Sources

  • Numerical Data, statistics, census figures
  • Surveys, opinion polls, interview transcripts
  • Journal Articles - reporting on studies
  • Artifacts from the time under study (e.g., tools, fossils, coins, pottery, clothing, plant/animal specimens etc.)
  • oral histories
  • case studies, reports
  • field notes

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

Finding Primary Sources in the Social Sciences

Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a Library Research guide. The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources for the Social Sciences. Click the "Social Sciences" link to bring up a list of guides in these topic areas.

Sciences

In the sciences, primary sources, or "primary literature," are sources which report the results of original research. The most common primary sources in the sciences are journal articles or conference papers which describe a new theory or the results of an experiment. In contrast, sources which review the existing literature are "secondary sources." These can include "review articles" in journals, books, encyclopedia entries, and news reports.

The fields of history, philosophy, and sociology of science use primary source materials much like those used in the Humanities. Students researching in one of these areas should also consult the information in the Humanities section of this guide.

Primary source journal articles in the sciences usually follow a certain structure, with the following sections:

  • Abstract (summarizing the article)
  • Introduction (providing a brief review of related literature)
  • Methods and materials (describing how this original study was set up)
  • Results (reporting the findings of this study)
  • Discussion (the implications of this study in relation to other work in the field)

Primary source journal articles (and sometimes, conference proceedings) in the sciences are usually peer-reviewed. This means that independent experts in the field review, or "referee" the publication to check the accuracy and validity of its claims.

Formats of Primary Sources

  • Journal articles reporting original research (in contrast to "review articles," which are secondary sources)
  • Conference papers and proceedings
  • Technical reports
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Patents
  • Numerical data and statistics
  • Samples, field notes and plant specimens
  • Lab notes and journal entries


Some Characteristics and Examples of Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources in the Sciences

Primary

  • Generally in research journals; report research done by the authors
  • Usually only include references to other primary sources
  • Covers very focused and specialized topics

Example: Articles in the journal Boundary-Layer Meteorology

Secondary

  • Research writings or graduate level text
  • Generally include a large bibliography
  • Usually bibliographic references are primary sources
  • Topic coverage is more focused than tertiary, but less focused than primary

Example: The book Atmospheric Boundary Layer, by J.R. Garratt, 1992.

Tertiary

  • Undergraduate text, or a textbook designed for a course
  • Sparse references, generally secondary sources
  • General and very broad topic coverage

Example: The book The Atmosphere, by R.A. Anthes, et al., 2nd ed. 1978


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:

  • technical reports, diary/ies, journals, lab books
  • papers, proceedings
  • patents
  • studies, results

Finding Primary Sources in the Sciences

Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a Library Research guide. The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources in the Sciences. Click the "Applied Sciences," "Natural Sciences," "Health Sciences" or "Physical Sciences" links to bring up the guides for these topic areas.

Collections

Here is a select list of collections with are entirely comprised of primary sources or which contain substantial amounts of primary source materials.

Note, many of our research guides also contain information and links to primary source collections for their specific subjects. Just click on the relevant research guide for your subject area to see if it has more information for you.