Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources/Social Sciences

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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.