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Link to Washington and Jefferson College

World History

This guide will introduce you to resources you can use when researching world history

Why Use Primary Sources?

WW1 Solider's letterPrimary sources:

  • provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence of a topic
  • are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events and conditions being documented
  • are often created during the time of the event, but some are created after the fact, such as oral histories or autobiographies

 

Image from of page six and seven of Diary of Joseph Cecil Thompson in April 1915, taken by Ellen Thompson.

Where to Look for Primary Sources

The Find Reliable Websites page contains links to many websites that include primary source material. 

To find primary sources online for your topic, use these tips: 

  1. Type your keywords into a search engine
  2. Add terms such as "primary source" or specific types of primary sources such as "diary" or "letter"

Summon and many of our databases will also allow you to filter your results by source type (often in a side panel on the left hand side of the screen). Select options such as newspapers, primary sources, letters, archives, etc. 

Find Primary Sources in Databases