Google, and more appropriately Google Scholar, can be valid places to search for articles and organizations. However, subject specific databases will have more advanced search options and articles. Here are some key differences between databases and Google.
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You Can Find
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An Oral History, a primary source, is a recorded interview of a personal experience. Interviews are what make up an oral history, but they are not mutually exclusive. Check out the links below to learn more about conducting interviews and oral histories.
Books and journal articles are typically going to be about a specific topic or event, and are secondary sources. Looking for books and articles on sociology? Check out the Books & Articles tab on this guide for more information.
Questionnaires and surveys can help you collect information from specific population groups in a much more structured manner than an interview.
A questionnaire is a set of questions with a choice of answers used for a survey. A survey can be used to gather information about a specific topic or issue.
There are many different ways that you can conduct a survey; check out the sources listed below to learn more.
Letters and diaries are more personal primary sources and can provide valuable insight to an event. They are often associated with historical research, but can be useful in sociological research as well (think email correspondence!). To search for letters or diaries, try using terms like correspondence, personal narratives, description and travel, letters, autobiography, or notebooks. If you are searching for the correspondence of a specific person, you might also find that there is an archival collection of their papers.
Newspapers and magazines deliver information on events from the time in which they took place, making them primary sources. But, newspaper and magazine articles that cite additional data or studies, would be considered a secondary source. See our guide on Finding Resources: Newspapers to learn more about accessing newspapers at Sarah Lawrence College Library and beyond.
Statistics and data are considered primary sources in fields like sociology. They are primary because they are the raw materials from which scholars in the field will draw their own analysis and conclusion. Looking for data-sets to work with? Check out the Finding Data & Data Resources page on this guide.
CHINESE CRUSH FOE IN CHIHKIANG ZONE. (1945, May 11). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/107140388?accountid=13701
Can a Source be Primary and Secondary?
Simply put, yes. For example a documentary about World War II could be used as both a primary or secondary source. It could be used as a primary source if it has first-hand accounts or if you are studying the art of documentary. It could also be used as a secondary source because it uses primary source material to analyze an event.
Not sure if what you are looking at is primary or secondary?