Environmental Studies 332: News

Environmental Justice
Professor: Natalie B. Vena
Spring 2016

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts by participants of a particular event or materials produced at the same historical time period. 

If you were examining racism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the article in the encyclopedia on the "Negro" would be a primary source. However, an article in the American Historical Review analyzing racism in the Britannica would be a secondary source. (Richard Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, pp. 14-15.)

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Memoirs, speeches, writings, correspondence
  • Papers of a political party, agency, or association
  • Official documents such as congressional hearings and reports
  • Contemporary magazine and newspaper articles
  • Contemporary art, films, literature, and music
  • Contemporary artifacts, such as buildings and monuments

Broaden Your Search

Use ORs and parentheses to combine synonyms or multiple topics

(oil OR petroleum OR crude)

(antibiotic OR antiviral)

(woman OR girl OR female)

 

Truncate roots of important words* to find plurals and more

perform* (searches for perform, performance, performativity, etc.)

cell$

pregnan!

 

Insert a “wild card” [*?$!] to catch words with different spellings

wom?n

coloni#ation

odo$r

 

*Truncation and wild cards work differently in different databases. Check the help section of the database to learn what symbol to use and how to properly use it.

Narrow Your Search

Combine concepts with AND to find more relevant sources

picasso AND Africa

internet AND privacy

bedrock AND Massachusetts AND hydrology

 

Use “double quotes” to find exact phrases

"rock art"

“African diaspora”

“invertible matrix”

 

Use proximity searching* to find words near each other

women NEAR violence

progressive NEAR/10 tax

"global warming" NEAR/20 "sea level"

*Proximity searching works differently in different databases.  Check the help section of the database to learn how to properly use it.

Subject Librarian

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Hale Polebaum-Freeman
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Contact:
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hop1@williams.edu
Pronouns: they/them/their(s)