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Archives 101: Find Primary Sources in Special Collections & Archives: Effective Research

How to find primary sources.

Suggestions for effective research

  • Restrict your research to a specific and manageable topic. Try to work from the general to the specific. Begin your research by consulting secondary sources, such as encyclopedias, biographies, histories, and periodical articles, so that you can place your topic in its proper context. Ask the staff for assistance if you need advice.
  • Record sources of useful information carefully so that you can retrieve them easily. Ask your instructors which style manual is appropriate for the course so that your paper conforms to the correct style for recording footnotes and bibliographies.
  • Report your results. When you have completed your research paper, donate a copy of it to the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room. Your carefully documented research can be a valuable resource for future researchers.

For helpful information about how to find and use the library's resources and how to write a research paper, check the Library's research guides by subject.

To find periodical or newspaper articles, consult research and journals databases that are appropriate for the topic that you are researching.

We can help!

Special Collections Reference Group Email Alias's picture
Special Collections Reference Group Email Alias
Doris Lewis Rare Book Room
Dana Porter Library, first floor
519-888-4567 ext. 32619