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Ekstrom Library

POLS 495: Comparative Foreign Policy (Gray): Archival Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are firsthand accounts of something; they reflect the viewpoint of a participant or observer. Examples relevant to Political Sciences include the following, but are not limited to:

  • Speeches, interviews, letters
  • Autobiographies
  • Oral histories
  • Statistical data 
  • Photographs and audio recordings as well as transcripts
  • Government records
  • Data created in the process of conducting research, e.g. field notes
  • Journalism - this is a grey area; consult your professor or a librarian. 

Why Primary Sources?

Primary sources may either be relevant to your research or provide a unique perspective to your research by providing firsthand accounts that provide depth to your research. All research can benefit from primary sources, but if you are researching historical foreign policy, some of the historical documents archives noted on this page may be of particular relevance.

Select US Archival Resources