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Ekstrom Library

Political Science Guide: Primary Sources

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Primary Sources in Political Science


Primary sources for Political Science consist of raw data that have yet to be analyzed or interpreted. They offer some first-hand information regarding a certain situation or issue, bringing a greater depth to our understanding. Some of the most common format of primary sources for Political Science include:

  • Raw data sets
  • Speeches, interviews, oral histories
  • Measures of public opinion
  • Government documents
  • Memoirs and autobiographies

For more information on finding government documents and information, please refer to our Government Resources Research Guide.

News Databases and Sites

Newspaper and magazine articles are a grey area. They can either be primary or secondary resources. If the article is a transcript of an interview, or is an eyewitness account of some sort, then it is a primary source. The key distinction to remember is that primary sources are first-hand accounts of something. They haven't been processed and analyzed by another. If the reporter includes any information from other articles or resources, it will become a secondary source.

Finding Primary Sources in Other Libraries

Online Archives