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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

FSEM 100G4: Race and Revolution: What you're looking for

Types of sources

Watch this video to learn about the difference between popular and scholarly sources, the difference between primary and secondary sources, and how each type of source can make your paper stronger.

Here is the chart from the video:



First-hand information


Second-hand information


Written for the average person to read

  • Interviews
  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • News reports
  • Memoirs
  • News analysis
  • Opinion pieces / editorials
  • Magazine articles
  • Popular non-fiction books


Written by scholars, for scholars to read

For your research project, you need to cite evidence (to support your claims) and expert analysis (to understand what experts are saying about your topic).

  • For evidence, use primary sources (the left column), because first-hand information is more trustworthy than second-hand information.
  • For expert analysis, use scholarly sources (the bottom row), because scholars are experts.

Reference Librarian

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Peter Catlin

Other guides

Advice and recommendations for FSEMs in general, and for History research.

The Citing Resources guide gives you examples of perfectly-formatted citations. Zotero is a free app that keeps track of the sources you've found, and generates citations without any typing.