COVID-19 Update: Although the Gould Library building remains closed, the library staff continue our commitment to support the teaching and research needs of the Carleton community. Information on remote access to library resources and services will be updated regularly on the Remote Resources and Guidance for Library Users page and this FAQ. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional assistance.
Remember: Research is a skill that you need to learn - no one innately knows how to do this!
Types of Sources
Think of the paper you're writing as a story that you are narrating. In this story, you want both primary and secondary sources. Your job as a scholar of history is to weave together primary and secondary sources to make a coherent argument.
Primary source = A book, article, picture, letter, document, or other item that was produced in the past. (think: an episode of Game of Thrones)
Secondary source = Scholarship that is reflecting back upon and analyzing something that happened in the past. (think: an analysis of Game of Thrones in the AV Club)
Reference source = A high level compilation of pointers to primary and/or secondary sources. (think: The Game of Thrones IMDB page)
Database = Where these are stored. (think: HBO Go)