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HY 488: American Foreign Policy Since 1914

Welcome to the online bibliography for Dr. Michelle Mart's HY 488 course at Penn State Berks.

How to Find Primary Sources

A plane used in the Berlin Airlift sitting on a memorial runway.Primary sources are original materials created by a person who was involved in an event.  The author was usually an eyewitness or first recorder.  A primary source calls on you to analyze it yourself.

Primary sources include diaries, memoirs, letters, newspaper articles from the time period, and government documents.

For example, let's say you are writing a paper about the Berlin airlift (1948-1949).

Examples of primary sources would include:

--a diary entry of a pilot who flew supplies into Berlin.

--an account of the operation from the memoirs of a Berlin resident who lived through it.

--a 1948 newspaper article written by a reporter who witnessed life in Berlin.

--an original photograph, film, or map depicting the planes.

--a report in government records.

Special Note: Please note that sometimes the distinction between primary and secondary sources is relative.  So, for example, if you are using something from a newspaper just for factual information and the author is not a direct participant in an event, that would usually be a secondary source, but if you are using a newspaper article to discuss discourse and media/public opinions about an event, that would be a primary source.

Five Methods for Finding Primary Sources

Method 1:  Mine Bibliographies

If you have a secondary source (see other side, bottom), check its bibliography or reference list. A high quality source should have used some primary sources, and these will be listed. Then check Lionsearch to see if Penn State owns it. If not, we will gladly go outside the University for you, but it will take longer to arrive. 


Method 2: Pull Newspaper Articles from the Time Period.

Online:

A screen shot of the publication date filter in Proquest.

Print:

Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, 1890-1997, located in the display area of the library. This source indexes news magazines (and other magazines and journals) for the dates listed. Berks has news magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report back to 1965 or so, and some recent online access in ProQuest or Business Source Premier. Articles from earlier issues can be obtained by interlibrary loan (ILLiad in “My Library Accounts” at top right of library home page).


Method 3: Find Personal Papers (Diaries, Memoirs, Speeches, Letters) from People Involved in Your Topic


Method 4: Search for Government Documents


Method 5: Search Online Archives and Museums

How to Find Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are materials that have already analyzed and synthesized the information for you.Secondary sources include scholarly journals articles and books.  Please note that assigned class materials (including textbooks) are not considered acceptable sources in a research paper.  Nor are encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) or commercial websites.

For example, let's say you are writing a paper about the Berlin Airlift (1948-1949).

Examples of secondary sources would include:

--a 2007 book discussing the operation by a historian who did not witness the Airlift in person

--a recent journal article analyzing the historical impact

Special Note: Please note that sometimes the distinction between primary and secondary sources is relative.  So, for example, if you are using something from a newspaper just for factual information and the author is not a direct participant in an event, that would usually be a secondary source, but if you are using a newspaper article to discuss discourse and media/public opinions about an event, that would be a primary source.