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History 122: History of Latinx in US

Primary Sources

Image courtesy Cardinal Stritch University Library

Primary sources are contemporary, first-hand, (un)published accounts of an event. Published = printed, filmed, uploaded, or digitized (non-archival) materials. How to Read a Primary Sources (
Bowdoin College) wesbite includes a helpful section (2b) with tips for what kinds of questions to ask when evaluating a primary source.

Archival Collections


  • The Duke University Libraries provides access to thousands of newspapers in variety of formats  -- online, in print, and on microfilm. Check out our newspapers page for more information on online titles.

Primary Source Publications

Publications of original documents, often with retrospective scholarly analysis and bibliographies. 

  • Letters and correspondence
  • Diaries and personal narratives
  • Interviews
  • Government documents (e.g. US State Dept. reports on Countries and Human Rights; UN Human Development Reports)
  • Laws & Legislation 
  • Belles lettres (eg. critical editions of fiction and poetry)

Audiovisual Materials

  • Still Images: Embedded Collections (image searching in journal databases, eg. AP Images, ARTstor, Cinema Image Gallert frin Wilson web), portals (Collections of Image Sites from Trustworthy Sources -- The Interntational and Area Studies Librarians at Duke maintain excellent image portals in the research guides for their respective areas); and commercial collections (ORBIS, carge for use, but browsing is free)
  • Moving Images (Video/Films)
  • Sound-recordings – such as oral histories, political speeches = eg. limit searches in the catalog by non-musical recording for example.

Numerical & Geospatial Data

  • Maps and geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Non-spatial data sets – indices do not take into account any spatial relationships of the geographical entities (i.e., distances apart, clustering within, spatial concentrations, etc.).
  • Writing with Statistics (Purdue): Numbers don't speak for themselves. Here's advice on how to use statistics effectively. 

Primary Source Databases

Secondary Sources

Image courtesy Cardinal Stritch University Library

Secondary Sources are analyses based on the author's own reading of existing primary sources. Scholarly works use peer-reviewed academic sources, such as journal articles, books, and book chapters for research.

What is a scholarly or peer reviewed article? View NCSU Library's tutorial: Peer Review in Three Minutes

Examples of Secondary Sources


  • Reference books (subject-specific encyclopedias and dictionaries give you a helpful overview of your topic, provide authoritative definitions of terms, theoretical concepts and historical events, and a bibliography. 
  • Published research: scientific studies and monographs, containing scholarly analysis,  Footnotes and bibliographies provide additional resources and substantiate the author's research.
    • For example: BergeĢ€re, M. (2009). Shanghai: China's gateway to modernity. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.


  • Scholarly articles
    • For example: Rose, Chanelle N. "Tourism and the Hispanicization of Race in Jim Crow Miami, 1945-1965."  Journal of Social History 45, no. 3 (2012): 735-756.
  • Magazine or journal articles that analyze an idea or event

   Dissertations & Theses

   Book Reviews