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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.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
1836-1922. Provides access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). Search features include limiting to state, newspaper, dates, and keywords.
Finding Primary Sources in Other Libraries
Guide to Online Primary Sources
This UC San Diego LibGuide provides links to hundreds of online primary sources and is organized by subject area. Some of the links are limited to UCSD faculty and students, indicated by a red lock icon.
American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
A growing collection within the Library of Congress that consists of images, sound recordings, written & spoken word, prints, maps, and music that document American history.
American Presidency Project
Contains over 100,000 documents related to the Presidency.
Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy
Avalon includes select historical documents related to economics, law, history, diplomacy, and government from 4000 BCE to the 21st century.
C-SPAN Video Library
Contains every C-SPAN program aired since 1987.
The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection
The Library of Congress provides interview transcripts from the oral history archives of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST).
In depth information on the US Presidents; includes images, oral histories, a speech archive, and audio files and limited transcripts to the Secret White House tapes.
Vincent Voice Library
A collection of sound recordings provided by the VVL of Michigan State University Libraries. Recordings are primarily speeches, interviews, lecture, and performance. Most items held in the public domain are available for listening through mp3.