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Chicano Studies Research Center Library

Serving the UCLA and Chicano community since 1969

Primary Sources

Primary Sources

What are primary sources?

"Primary sources are documents, images, or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a historical topic under research investigation. Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. Primary sources enable researchers to get as close as possible to what actually happened during a historical event or time period." - UCI Libraries, "What are Primary Sources?"

Some examples of primary source formats include:

  • archives and manuscript material
  • photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, films
  • journals, letters, and diaries
  • speeches
  • scrapbooks
  • published books, newspapers and magazine clippings published at the time
  • government publications
  • oral histories
  • records of organizations
  • autobiographies and memoirs
  • printed ephemera
  • artifacts, e.g. clothing, costumes, furniture
  • research data, e.g. public opinion polls

Check out our archives and special collections, oral histories, historical newspaper collection, and subject files, which include printed ephemera, for primary sources on Chicana/o Studies. For even more information on primary sources--how to find, evaluate, and use them--visit American Library Association (ALA) guide, Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using.

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources

What are secondary sources?

"A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes a historical event or period after the event has occurred and, generally speaking, with the use of primary sources. The same document, or another piece of evidence, maybe a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any format of research materials or type of records, documents, or publications."- UCI Libraries, "What are Primary Sources?"

Some examples of secondary sources:

  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Speeches
  • Reviews
  • Research reports

Generally speaking, secondary sources are written well after the events that are being researched. Check out our books, articles, journals, publications, and research databases for secondary sources on Chicana/o Studies.