Types of Resources
Primary sources are records or documents created at the time historical events occurred. Primary sources could also be made after historical events have taken place by someone who participated in those events (for example, memoirs or oral histories). Some of the most common types of primary sources are letters, manuscripts, diaries, newspapers, statistics, interviews, memoirs, oral histories, speeches, objects, or artifacts.
Secondary sources interpret or analyze an historical event. Most secondary sources are books with footnotes or endnotes, journal and magazine articles that analyze or interpret past events, biographies, book reviews, literary criticism, or recreations of artwork or artifacts.
Keywords & Boolean Operators
Keywords are the terms you use when searching a database. Unlike Google, databases don't try to read or interpret your searches to figure out what you need; databases simply match your search terms, your keywords, to the information they have on their articles.
To generate keywords, think about your search topic and write down the big idea terms. Don't think of it in terms of the question you want answered, think of it in terms of the words that would show up in your ideal article. Think of synonims to those terms and other related big picture words. Then do a search in one of our databases. Take note of what other words keep cominmg up, and add them to your list of keywords. This is a trial and error process, so give yourself some time and don't give up!
Boolean Operators are words that you can use in between keywords to widen or narrow your search as necessary. They're very easy to use and can make a big difference! The most popular boolean operators are:
Most databases have an "advanced search" option that allows you to make boolean searches with ease. Try it out!
The CRAAP Test: Evaluate Your Sources
CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate your sources.
Currency: the timeliness of the information
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs
Authority: the source of the information
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Purpose: the reason the information exists
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