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Reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, or guides to the literature are a great way to find background information on a topic as well as build a vocabulary for searching within and across disciplines.
General Reference Resources
Subject Specific Resources
Other Research Guides
Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event, phenomenon, or situation, etc. and can exist in any format (e.g. audio, video, digital, text, physical object). For example a book is simply a format. You can find both primary and secondary sources published in book form. Common examples of primary sources include:
Secondary sources are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources. For example, an autobiography is a primary source while a biography is a secondary source. Common examples of secondary sources include:
Notice that some of the above examples are also on the primary source list. Whether or not an item is a primary source for your research depends on what you are investigating and how you are using the source.
Secondary source and primary source are relative concepts, particularly in an anthropological context. Typical secondary sources may be primary sources depending on the research topic. Here are a few examples: