History is a vast field that is both writing and research intensive. Becoming a good researcher is essential to being a good student in history, and students will need to use both primary and secondary sources when conducting research on historical topics.
Primary sources provide firsthand evidence of historical events. They are generally unpublished materials such as manuscripts, letters, photographs, maps, artifacts, audio and video recordings, oral histories, postcards, and posters. In some instances, published materials can also be considered primary sources, such as newspaper articles written during the time period being studied. In contrast, secondary sources, such as books and journal articles, synthesize and interpret primary materials. Tertiary sources, such as encyclopedia and dictionaries, synthesize books and articles, and can be a great place to get started.
This guide will help you get started, and will provide you with an overview of how to look for secondary sources (books and articles), as well as primary sources.
Electronic resources (databases, full-text articles, e-books, etc.) can be accessed from home or off-campus if you're a Brooklyn College student. You will be asked to log in with your BC email ID and password.