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HISTORY 1FF3 - Introduction to North American Environmental History

Evaluating Primary Sources

When considering using Primary Sources in your research it is important to ask yourself:

  • Who is the author and/or creator of this resource and what is their connection to the event, person or time period?
  • What is the source talking about and can you identify any overt biases to their approach?
  • Why was the source created in its selected format?
  • Who is the intended audience and what is the intended purpose of the resource?
  • Is the resource corroborated by other Primary Sources connected to this event, person or time period?

Why Use Primary Sources?

Primary Sources are helpful in contextualizing a historic event, person or time period and serve as an access point as to how it may have been viewed in its current time.

Digitized Primary Sources can be found in the Library Catalogue ans well as on the broader web. Even more can be found in access archive, museum and library collection around the world including McMaster's very own William Ready Archives and Research Collections house in Mills Memorial Library.

Primary Resources

A box describing that a primary source is an original firsthand account of a time or event.

Finding Primary Sources in the Catalogue

In the Library Catalogue search for your topic and include one of the following words or phrases:

  • autobiography
  • correspondence
  • description and travel
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • letters
  • personal narratives
  • public opinion
  • pictorial works
  • sources
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