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HIST 281: War in Modern Africa

Professor Thabiti Willis - Fall 2020

Reference Sources

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)