US History in Context includes Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary resources on historical events in the United States. This database is an excellent starting point for historical research. Always pay close attention to what kind of source you are looking at. Tertiary resources provide excellent background information but should not be cited in your research.
Tertiary resources include: encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs. Tertiary sources provide big-picture and background information. In historical research, use tertiary sources to understand the facts and time-lines of historical events. By developing your knowledge of a subject or historical event, you will be able to better understand and analyze primary and secondary sources.
Secondary sources are scholarly articles and books that interpret and analyze primary sources to provide a scholarly understanding of historical events. These scholarly sources will provide much of the research you cite in your paper.
Primary sources are the objects created during a particular event and may include:
Documentaries may be secondary or tertiary sources. Look for films that provide a specific point-of-view, context, and analysis to use as secondary sources. Films that simply relate a series of events can be appropriate background sources. Documentaries can be strong sources that provide visual and audio elements to improve your understanding of an event.