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HIST 300: Refugees in World History

Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents and other artifacts that are produced in the time that an event occurred. This could include, for example, a photograph, a letter or diary, a piece of government legislation, and much more. The document or artifact has not yet gone through a secondary analysis by a scholar, so it is sort of "raw evidence" for your topic. But note: All primary sources are produced in a particular time, by a particular person or organization,  with its own values or viewpoint. It is critical to recognize this when bringing your primary source into your research: Who produced it, and why? There are numerous primary sources you can use in your analysis, and it is up to you to determine what illustrates your argument. Your instructor or librarian can assist you with this.

For locating primary sources in books, see the Locating Books tab.

Digital Text Collections and Primary Source Databases

These databases, via WSU Libraries, contain numerous primary sources that can provide a picture into the refugee experience around the world.

Historical Newspapers and Periodicals

You can use historical newspaper articles for short takes on major events or people related to refugees studies; these provide a look into what was happening at a given time, from the perspective of those reporting. How these events or people are reported will depend greatly on the type of publication.

Immigration and Refugee-Specific Collections

This is a very small look into specific collections related to refugees and immigrants.

General Archives and Digital Collections

Below are examples of very general collections of primary sources. To search for primary sources, it is best to not search generally (e.g. "refugee") as this will bring back numerous results. Instead, use the background research you have done to try searching for primary sources related to a specific person, organization, piece of legislation, or event.

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