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Dual Credit HIST 1301/1302

Resources for students taking DCUSH from LSC-CyFair

Dual Credit US History Resources

When researching history, it is important to use both primary and secondary sources and to use resources from reliable databases and websites. 

This guide will help you understand:

  • What are primary sources?
  • What are secondary sources?
  • How can you find and use these sources?

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are any sources created by or contemporary to the subject being studied. They are often called "first hand" accounts, because they are the experiences of the people who experienced that moment in history. In the case of historical research, primary sources are usually things like:

  • artifacts 
  • diaries, letters, memoirs, and autobiographies
  • speeches
  • government and personal records
  • newspaper articles (if published at the time of the event)
  • photographs, movies, or sound recordings

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

What are secondary sources?

Secondary sources are second hand accounts of the moment in history. They usually take primary evidence and interpret or analyze it to gain knowledge of that historical event. Examples of secondary sources are:

  • reference books
  • textbooks
  • biographies
  • most journal and magazine articles

Because secondary sources are the result of someone's interpretation or analysis, there can be some degree of misinterpretation or bias. Peer-reviewed scholarly sources are usually reviewed by a group of experts in that subject area before they are published so they are less likely to contain inaccuracies or bias. 

How to Analyze a Primary Source