The pages on this guide will point you to some useful resources for your research on topics in history and political science. The tabs across the top of the page provide information on a variety of resources you may utilize during the research process.
Historical research is necessary for both understanding past events and providing context for the present through the examination and interpretation of the evidence surrounding past events. The researcher/historian must then interpret the events, making note of bias and factual "inconsistencies", to find meaning and provide analysis for impact on present day events and issues. [Fifth Edition, by Diana Hacker and Barbara Fister, Bedford/St. Martin, 2010]
Please contact a librarian with questions regarding the research process, locating the sources you need, and assistance in formatting reference citations.
Primary sources are those which recorded an event as it occurred or very soon after. Some examples are listed below and in the tabs at the top of this box:
Secondary sources provide context and meaning, through analysis, commentary and interpretation of persons and events as recording primary texts. Both primary and secondary sources are needed in historical research.
Whereas an autobiography is a primary source, a biography is a secondary source. A government report may be a primary source; a newspaper article may be a secondary source. See the chart below for more examples.
Works of art and architecture
Audio recordings (i.e., radio programs)
Cookery (dishes, utensils, etc.)
The chart below was created by the Libraries at Indiana University Bloomington on its guide for Identifying Primary & Secondary Sources. The chart illustrates possible uses of primary and secondary sources by discipline:
|Discipline||Primary Source||Secondary Source|
|Archaeology||Farming tools||Treatise on Innovative Analysis of Neolithic Artifacts|
|Art||Sketch book||Conference Proceedings on French Impressionist|
|Education||Test scores||Biography of John Dewey|
|History||Emancipation Proclamation (1863)||Non-fiction Book on the Underground Railroad|
|Journalism||Interview||Biography of Publisher Katherine Meyer Graham|
|Law||Legislative hearing||Law Review Article on Anti-Terrorism Legislation|
|Literature||Novel||Critical Commentary Article on "The Name of the Rose"|
|Music||Opera score||Biography of Composer Ludwig van Beethoven|
|Political Science||Public opinion poll||Newspaper Article on Campaign Finance Reform|
|Psychology||Research article on the affect of emotions on brain development||Biography of Carl Jung|
|Religion||Sacred texts (Bible, Torah, Qu'ran, etc.)||Commentary on the Sacred Texts|
|Rhetoric/Communication||Gettysburg Address||Commentary on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech"|
|Sociology||Voter registry||Ph.D. Dissertation on Hispanic Voting Patterns|
When searching the library system for books and other media select the "Advanced Search" option. Below are some sample searches:
Here are a couple of book sources to help you get started:
When searching for journal articles, use the Research tab from the library's main page. Select the option for Databases A to Z. Select either All EBSCO or All ProQuest. Sources pulled will be both primary and secondary sources. You can also filter the search to locate only scholarly or peer-reviewed sources using the filters to the left of the search results.
Another helpful resource are the list of references/sources at the end of books and articles. Use these lists of sources to help you locate additional sources on your topic.
Contact a librarian if you have questions or need assistance!