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Primary Sources: Evaluation And Citation Of Primary Sources

This guide provides an overview of Primary Source material, information for evaluating sources, and resources for finding sources.

 

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Evaluation of Primary Sources

Once you have found a possible primary source or sources, you should ask the following questions in order to help you better understand its value as a primary source as well as the evidence or perspective the source offers for your research.

What is it?
Who wrote or created it?
When was it created?
What evidence does this source contribute to my research?
Why was this document/object written or created?
Who was the intended audience?
What questions does this source raise? 
What other information do we have about this document or object?
Are there other sources like this one?
How does this source help me answer my research question?
 

Evaluating Resources

 Critical thinking

Citation of Primary Sources

You must correctly cite any source in order to give proper credit to the work of others. Citations also lend validity to your argument, show the strength of your research, and allow others to follow and explore the information that contributed to your research.


It is necessary to provide complete and accurate information about your primary source whether you found it in a printed source or online. The basic pieces of information that should be included are: author of the source, title of the source, name of the creator or author of the source, place of publication, publisher, year, and page numbers. The basic elements to include in a citation for an online source are: creator or author of the source, title of the source, title of the website, author or producer of the website, url, date (if given) and date accessed. Citation styles such as  MLA and APA put this information into specific formats. Be sure to consult the citation guides on this page for guidelines and examples.

APA Citation

Research paper with pen

Imgae courtesy of Kozzi.com

 

The Library has created the following resources to assist you in formatting your papers and citing your sources in APA format. The citation guide will help you create a works cited page(s) in your paper and show you examples on how to format each entry.  It also provides an overview of and additional resources for the overall style of your paper.  The tutorial will take you through a brief overview of APA citation style.  If you need further assistance with citation, please see the reference librarian on 3rd floor or call 423.354.2429.

Helpful Links

MLA Citation

Keyboard and Mouse with Research paper

Imgae courtesy of Kozzi.com

 

The Library has created the following resources to assist you in formatting your papers and citing your sources in MLA format. The citation guide will help you create a works cited page(s) in your paper and show you examples on how to format each entry.  It also provides an overview of and additional resources for the overall style of your paper.  The tutorial will take you through a brief overview of MLA citation style.  If you need further assistance with citation, please see the reference librarian on 3rd floor or call 423.354.2429.