Research in Different Disciplines
Different disciplines approach research in distinct ways, and it is important to examine types of information sources in each area of study. For example:
|Purpose of Research||To understand and analyze the meaning of individual events, people, and creative works||To observe and understand natural phenomena||To solve social problems and understand group interactions|
|Research Methodology||Qualitative||Quantitative||Qualitative, Quantitative|
|Examples of Primary Sources||Creative works, diaries, letters, interviews, news footage||Results of experiments, research and clinical trials||Census data, statistics, results of experiments of human behavior|
|Examples of Secondary and Tertiary Sources||Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material||Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material||Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material|
Finding Primary Sources
The Library features several pages that can help you find primary sources in the UC Berkeley Libraries and beyond.
A good first step is our guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources. It includes information on a number of specific formats:
The American Library Association provides a very helpful guide to Using Primary Sources on the Web where nearly primary sources in all formats can be found.
Here are some primary source databases selected from the Library's Electronic Resources Finder that may help you to locate digitized or born-digital primary source materials on your topic.
19th Century U.S. Newspapers
Images of both full pages and clipped articles for hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers. For each issue, the newspaper is captured from cover-to-cover, providing access to every article, advertisement and illustration.
Indexes the paper called 'The New York Times of the 18th Century,' offering social, political and cultural perspectives of colonial America, the American Revolution, and the New Republic.
American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
Consists of more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical Library of Congress collections. The primary source and archival materials relating in the project cover topics from art and architecture to performing arts to technology and applied sciences.
American Slave: A Composite Autobiography
A digitized collection of over 2,300 narratives of former slaves. Interviews were conducted by writers and journalists as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s.
American Social History Online
Provides access to 175 digitized library collections related to U.S. social history.
A digitized collection of of manuscripts, ephemera, and rare printed works on the history of the American West found in the Everett D. Graff Collection at the Newberry Collection in Chicago. Covers early pioneers and explorers, the gold rush, railroads, emigrant guides and travel journals, Native American history and culture and much more.
Archive of Americana
A family of primary source collections providing references to books, pamphlets, broadsides (Early American Imprints, Series I and Series II), newspapers (Early American Newspapers) and government publications (American State Papers and U.S. Congressional Serial Set).
Documents California's history of diversity and multicultural contributions. Includes photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, political cartoons, works of art, oral histories, and features more than 20,000 specially digitized primary sources from The Bancroft Library. Part of Calisphere, University of California's free public gateway to primary sources.
New American Media
Contains full-text California ethnic newspapers, many with English translations, some in the vernacular.
California Language Archive (CLA)
A catalog and online archive of the indigenous languages of California, western North American and the Americas. CLA is a collaboration between the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages and the Berkeley Language Center (BLC), both archives at the UC Berkeley.
Gateway to digitized images from the libraries and museums of 10 University of California campuses and more than 100 cultural heritage organizations in California. Includes more than 150,000 photographs, diaries, documents, oral histories and other resources. Serves as a single point of access for more than 300 UC-created websites and collections.
Early American Newspapers
Access to hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. Based largely on Clarence Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers,1690-1820." (Archive of Americana allows cross-searching of several databases: Early American Imprints , Series I and II; Early American Newspapers; American State Papers; US Congressional Serial Set.)
Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment
Includes prints, drawings, paintings, maps, bibliographies, letters, photographs, and original facsimile pages documenting the relationships among peoples and with the environment in North America. Focuses on personal accounts and providing unique perspectives from all the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, Native Americans as well as a wide range of Europeans.
Searchable and browseable database offering extensive access to the web of correspondence between the greatest thinkers and writers of the long eighteenth century and their families and friends, bankers and booksellers, patrons and publishers. Coverage includes letters and documents, document sources such as manuscripts and early printed editions, scholarly annotations, and links to biographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, newspapers, and other online resources.
European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750
Contains more than 32,000 entries and is a comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750.
The Bibliotheque Nationale de France's digital library provides free electronic access to one of the world's largest collections of digitized books, periodicals, documents, manuscripts, images and audio-visual resources.
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Indexes articles from Chicago Defender (1905-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1986), Los Angeles Times (1881-1986), New York Times (1851-2004), San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), Wall Street Journal (1889-1990), and Washington Post (1877-1991).
Making of America (Cornell University)
Access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles from 22 journals with 19th century imprints. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon the primary materials at these two institutions. The Michigan site is available at: http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/moagrp/
Making of America (University of Michigan)
Access to 9,500 books and almost 2500 digitized issues of 12 journals published in the 19th century. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Making of America is a collaboration between the libraries of Cornell University and the University of Michigan to document American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction by drawing upon unique primary materials held at each institution. The Cornell site is available at: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/index.html
Online Archive of California (OAC)
A searchable and browseable resource that brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Contains over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections. Images are organized into thematic and institutional collections, such as historical topics, nature, places, and technology.
San Francisco Chronicle (historical archive)
Full page article images of the San Francisco Chronicle starting with the first issue (1865) through 1922.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery
Includes more than 1.5 million pages, 7000+ books, 80+ serials, 15 manuscript collections as well as court records and reference materials documents related to the antebellum era. Published through partnerships with the Amistad Research Center, Oberlin College, Oxford University, & many other institutions