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Simpson | Stafford | Special Collections

Political Science & International Affairs: Primary Sources

Defining Primary Sources (Political Science & International Affairs)

Primary sources in PSIA are raw data, information, and original documents that have not yet been analyzed or interpreted. These sources bring researchers closer to understanding issues and events as they occur. Secondary sources are materials that analyze or interpret primary source data and information.
 
  • Raw data sets
  • Measures of public opinion, past and present: interviews, public opinion polls, questionnaires, and surveys (Gallup poll; surveys carried out by other organizations; self-administered poll, survey, questionnaire, or interview – creating your own instrument for data collection allows you to ask questions specific to the issues you seek to understand in your research)
  • Official documents (U.S. and International): government documents; legislative proceedings (available online for some countries); transcripts of court cases and congressional hearings; treaties, statutes, laws, bills; presidential memoranda, statements, and vetoes; words of political figures in response to an issue or occurrence (speeches, public statements or apologies)
  • News sources recording events and reactions to events as they occur: historical newspapers, political cartoons, newspaper advertisements; transcripts of television broadcasts
  • Firsthand accounts of major events by people who lived at the time: interviews, journals, diaries; oral histories; statements of witnesses; letters, e-mails, and other forms of correspondence. Overlap exists between primary sources in PSIA and History, so please see the Subject Guide for History & American Studies for extremely helpful ideas on locating primary sources

Raw Data

Measures of public opinion, past and present: interviews, public opinion polls, questionnaires, and surveys (Gallup poll; surveys carried out by other organizations; self-administered poll, survey, questionnaire, or interview – creating your own instrument for data collection allows you to ask questions specific to the issues you seek to understand in your research)

Public Opinion Measures

United States Government Resources: General

United States Government Resources: Executive Branch

United States Government Resources: Judicial Branch

United States Government Resources: Legislative Branch

National and Regional Documents (International Sources)

News Databases

News sources recording events and reactions to events as they occur: historical newspapers, political cartoons, newspaper advertisements; transcripts of television broadcasts

See also: UMW LibGuide for finding Newspaper Articles

State Documents - Virginia