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ENGL 201 (Diaz) SP24

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Key Terms

This brief video will provide an overview of what are key terms, how to come up with them, and how to use them in your searches.

Popular vs Scholarly

This video will provide an overview of different types of sources, including peer reviewed scholarly sources. Learn about distinguishing characteristics of popular and scholarly sources. 

Finding Credible Sources Online

Learn how to discern between credible and non credible sources you find while browsing the internet.

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Primary sources, according to Yale University, "provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic or question under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include:

  • autobiographies,
  • memoirs, and
  • oral histories recorded later.

Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format.

The Library of Congress has an extensive list of primary sources that you can access. You can also find primary sources using MiraCosta College Library's Primary Source Databases.

Secondary sources would be sources that analyze or provide secondhand accounts of the event. Some examples are:

  • Journal articles
  • magazines
  • news articles
  • textbooks
  • encyclopedia entries 

Accessing Primary Sources

  • Search the library's EBSCOhost databases:
    1. Go to the Advanced Search section
    2. Use the Primary Source Document option under "Publication Type" (look beneath the search box), which will let you limit your search results to primary documents only.  Be sure to read here about how EBSCO defines "primary source document."
    3. You can also use the Document Type option to select specific types of sources (interviews, speeches or letters would be primary, for example, while an article could be either primary or secondary). 

Click image to view larger:

EBSCOhost publication and document type options

Document type options in ProQuest