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Spanish Conquest of the Americas: LAS/HIST/ANTH 2522

Introduction: What are Primary Sources?

What are Primary Sources?

"Primary sources provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic or question under investigation."

- Source: Yale University.

The definition of a primary sources varies by discipline, and includes historical letters and diaries, government documents, works of art and literature, data from a scientific experiment, findings from an archeological dig, and oral history recordings to name just a few examples. It is content which has not been analyzed or interpreted by scholars or researchers.

See this chart from Yale University for more examples of primary sources by academic discipline.

Primary Source Databases

The databases listed below contain primary source material and some secondary source essays and contextual information.

Find Printed Primary Sources at Temple

  • Use the Library Search and enter keywords on your research topic.
  • Use the Genre filter at the left and limit to the terms Sources, Personal Narratives, Correspondence, or Diaries to limit to primary sources.
  • A sample subject heading for primary sources about the treatment of indigenous people in Latin America is: Indians, Treatment of — Latin America — History — Sources
  • Try the subject links in the records for any useful items you find. These will take you to additional primary sources on the same topic.