Primary sources are often referred to as "original" records. This might include correspondence, diaries, photographs, organizational records, government documents, newspaper accounts, or artifacts created at the time the historical event occurred. Primary sources can also include materials created after an event, such as oral history interviews or written memoirs. In contrast, secondary sources generally build on primary sources, selecting and analyzing original records for interpretive research.
Primary sources are particularly useful in humanities research, including the disciplines of history, literature, religion, anthropology, and cultural studies. This guide focuses on finding primary sources for your research.
Most of the materials we describe are available online through Missouri State University databases or through freely available online sites. There is also information on using the physical resources that are located in Missouri State University's Meyer Library.
Remember, there is no comprehensive guide to archival resources, so you may need to broaden your search and try other online sites. Do not hesitate to reach out to one of the archivists or reference librarians at Missouri State University Libraries for help finding research materials. You can also visit Ask A Librarian for help with your research.