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HIS 350R The Civil Rights from a Comparative Perspective

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This guide is intended to help students in HIS 350R: The Civil Rights Movement from a Comparative Perspective navigate the many resources available for their class assignments.

Using the tabs to the left, you'll find links and explanations on four different types of research resources:

  • Background Info and Encyclopedias: Background information provides a general overview of a research topic, including important terms and concepts, relevant names of people or places, and dates of specific events. Finding background information can help you locate keywords for searching databases and identify more specific areas of your topic that you may want to research further.
  • Physical Archives: Institutions on UT Campus, such as libraries, archives, and museums, that hold collections of papers, documents, books, and other primary source material. 
  • Digital Archives: Many institutions have invested in digitizing their collections. Find links to online collections of archival materials from collections on women radicals and reformers.
  • Historical Newspapers: Digitized collections of backfiles and out-of-print newspapers, including papers for niche audiences, such as underground, radical, and feminist communities.
  • Secondary Sources (includes scholarly journal articles): Databases with articles from journals, magazines, and other research publications. Includes general databases like Academic Search Complete and JSTOR and discipline-specific ones like America Historical Abstracts and LGBT Life.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are produced by participants or direct observers of an issue, event or time period.  These sources may be recorded during the event or later on by a participant reflecting upon the event. In some cases, it will be difficult to obtain the original source, so you may have to rely on copies (photocopies, microfilm, digital copies).

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Newspapers
  • Speeches
  • Government Documents
  • Legal Documents
  • Public Opinion Polls
  • Personal Materials: letters, diaries, interviews, memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories
  • Images

To analyze primary sources, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the creator and what was their relationship to the event or issue?
  • Why did the creator produce this source?
  • Was the source for personal use? For a large audience?
  • Was the source intended to be public (newspaper) or private (correspondence)?
  • How neutral was the creator? What biases or interests might have influenced how the source was created?
  • Can the source be substantiated by other primary sources? Can you confirm what the creator is saying?

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