GOVT 1101.101: Debates on Democracy in America (Fall 2015): Primary Sources

Library Research Guide

What is a primary source?

Primary sources are produced by participants or direct observers of an issue, event or time period.  These sources may be recorded during the event or later on, by a participant reflecting upon the event.

For your chosen debate on democracy, a primary source might be a piece of legislation, a speech, or one of the other examples below:

Newspapers
Speeches
Government Documents
Legal Documents
Public Opinion Polls
Interviews
Research Data and Statistics
Letters
Diaries
Memoirs
Autobiographies
Oral Histories
Photographs

 

Consult with a librarian to determine the best search strategy for finding a primary source relevant to your debate.  Some starting strategies are included below.

Finding Legislation and Government Information

  • Congress.gov: Legislative information from the Library of Congress.
  • ProQuest CongressionalFind Congressional publications, including Hearings, Committee Prints, Reports, Documents and Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS Reports).

Historical Newspaper Collections

Other Collections