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Anthropology Resources

Learn about the research process and resources for anthropology

What are primary and secondary sources?

Your research will involve both primary sources and secondary sources.

What makes a source primary or secondary depends on your research topic.

For example, a newspaper article from 1977 about the National Women's Conference written by someone who was not actually present at the conference might be used as a secondary source about the event itself, but the same article could be used as a primary source for a paper about attitudes and public media coverage of the National Women's Conference. 

It is common to connect the idea of primary sources with historical documents, like letters or speeches, but primary sources can also include data sets and video recordings. In terms of deciding whether or not something is a primary source, the format or time of publication matters less than its perspective and how you plan to use the source.

To learn more about primary and secondary sources, check out the video below:

Where can I find primary sources?

To find primary sources in anthropology, check out the databases below: