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MAN HISTORY 104: World Civilizations II

Kathleen Walkner

Primary Sources

A primary source is a document or piece of evidence written or created during the time period you are studying. A primary source allows you to examine evidence firsthand without being affected by other opinions.

Types of Primary Sources:

  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Memos/E-mails
  • Speeches (both the text of the speech & the giving of the speech)
  • Manuscripts
  • Autobiographies
  • Interviews
  • Patents
  • Laws, legislation, court rulings
  • Newspaper & magazine articles as an event happened
  • News footage
  • Raw data
  • Artifacts: buildings, clothes, jewelry, toys, fossils
  • Journal articles reporting original research or an experiment
  • Official records of governments, agencies, organizations: meeting minutes, reports, vital records (e.g., Census records)
  • Creative works: poetry, novels, drama, music, art, photography, movies, scripts, performances
  • Technical reports (i.e., accounts of work done on research projects)

Search@UW - Search Books, Articles and More

Book search

Searching Tip

Books are great places to look for primary sources! Historians may have already put together collections of primary sources in a book for you. You might try looking for books containing sermons, military histories, government publications, etc. You may even come across a book written by someone from the time period you are studying.

Click here to see an example search (Advanced Search) in Search@UW, combining terms for types of primary sources along with a specific event or time period. 

Recommended Databases

Primary Source Websites

Tip: Use Search@UW to find books that will work as primary sources for this event. 

Tip: Consider looking up the Tunisia Revolution on Twitter or other social media outlets for posts from the revolution. You also have full access to the current New York Times Online. See the "News Sources" database tab above to access. 

Tip: Try finding newspaper articles on the revolution in the Historical Newspaper: The New York Times or the Times Digital Archive located in the Recommended Databases box above under "News Sources." 

Tip: You have full access to the current New York Times Online to search for news stories from when the revolution began. See the "News Sources" database tab above to access. Consider looking up the Syrian Revolution on Twitter or other social media outlets for posts from the revolution.