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GEOG 410 Revanchist City/Rebel City: Primary Sources: Poli Sci & Int'l Affairs

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.

Some Examples:
  • 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

Public Opinion Measures

United States Government Resources

Find transcripts of court cases, congressional hearings, presidential statements and memos, treaties, statutes, bills, laws, and more.


UMW Guide to Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Resources
Some resources on this guide contain links to primary source documents

U.S. Government Publications (GPO)
Congressional Bills, Economic Report of the President, Public Papers of the Presidents of the U.S., Public and Private Laws, Supreme Court Decisions, and more; data limited to specific years (for more coverage, check holdings at Simpson Library); from Government Printing Office.

Executive Branch:

Budget of the United States
Available online: 1996-present
Available in Simpson Library: 1941-1944, 1944 Suppl., 1945, 1945 Suppl., 1946, 1946 Suppl., 1947, 1947 Suppl. I-II, 1948-1988, 1988 Suppl., 1993 Suppl., 1989-1997, 1997 Suppl., 1998-2009, 2012-2013
Call Number: REFB HJ2051 .A59 (Simpson Library reference section)

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
1991-2009 available online
1929-2009 in library stacks on the 3rd floor (call number: J80 .A283)

White House Briefing Room
Speeches, statements, vetoes, legislation in process, recent legislation, memos, executive orders, and more.

Judicial Branch:

Texts of Supreme Court decisions since 1893

LexisNexis Academic
Transcripts of court cases; news

PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records

Legislative Branch:

Center for Legislative Archives
From the National Archives; contains Feature Documents, finding aids for U.S. House of Representatives records (1789-1989), an image gallery, changing online exhibits, and links to other sites with documents related to U.S. legislation

ProQuest Congressional (formerly LexisNexis Congressional )
U.S. Congressional hearings, bills and public laws, legislative histories, the Congressional Record; 1970-present

Thomas: Legislative Information from the Library of Congress

National and Regional Documents (International Sources)

News Databases

State Documents - Virginia