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History 1: Middle East 2020 (Ezra): Finding primary sources

WHILE THE SCHOOL IS CLOSED

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT RESEARCH, SOURCES, OR CITATIONS, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO library@sfuhs.org AND HAYLEY OR TAMARA WLL GET BACK TO YOU DURING REGULAR SCHOOL HOURS.

What is a primary source and why use them?

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time of the event you are studying. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Primary sources are created:

  • by someone who was present at or involved in the event
  • at the time of the event OR later in a memoir

Primary sources provide a window into the past—unfiltered access to the record of artistic, social, scientific and political thought and achievement during the specific period under study, produced by people who lived during that period. Coming into close contact with these unique, often profoundly personal, documents and objects can provides a very real sense of what it was like to be alive during a long-past era.

Remember - a primary source is not necessarily your main source!

In the column on the left below you will find some suggestions of where to find primary sources for your project.

In the column on the right below you will find two versions of a primary source notetaking guide--one can be printed and filled out by hand and the other is a PDF form that you can fill out on your device. It will walk you through the elements of a primary source that will further your research.

Finding primary sources

We have several books with primary sources from the modern Middle East which you can look at in the Library, and take a copy of your chosen source - ask a librarian if you need help finding these. Your teacher may have additional books, so be sure to look at those too.

Primary source notetaking tools

Examples of primary sources

  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Newspapers and magazines (be sure these fit the definition of a primary source)
  • Manifestos
  • Speeches
  • Audio recordings
  • Films or videos
  • Photographs or blueprints
  • Memoirs or journals
  • Government documents
  • Maps
  • Artifacts, such as objects used at the time.
  • Exhibition brochures (be sure these are of the right time period)

Citing your primary source

Use Noodletools to cite all your sources. As with your Mexico paper, start a new project to keep track of all your sources. You will be using Advanced Chicago/Turabian again.

If your source is one of many collected together in a book:

  • Use the 'Anthology/Collection' citation, under the Nonperiodicals heading.
  • Once you have clicked on that, choose the type of source you're citing, from the next drop down menu.
  • You will cite both the source itself and the book it's in - for example, Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East.

Here is an example of a Chicago style citation from the anthology Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East:

Hussein, Saddam. "The Revolution and the Woman." Speech, 1979. In Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East, edited by Akram Fouad Khater, 211-12. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage, 2011.