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Comparative Ethnic Studies: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs).  They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.

See the Finding Historical Primary Sources Library Guide for a comprehensive guide to locating primary sources.

See specific pages on Archives (archival collections at local institutions and beyond), Digital Collections (digital archives on Ethnic Studies), and Newspapers (information on how to access historical newspapers).

Primary Sources

Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:

For specific search strategies, see the Library's Guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources

Learn more about your topic in advance:

  • names of relevant individuals and organizations
  • dates of events
  • places
  • what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex:  negro or colored instead of african american)

Use the bibliographies of secondary sources and reference sources to find citations to specific primary sources; search UC Library Search to locate them on campus, or ask for assistance at the Library.

UC Berkeley Primary Source Databases

Selected Databases for Primary Sources