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Sociology - Introduction to Contemporary Social Problems

An overview of resources available related to social change and social movements.

Primary Sources

Primary sources provide an account of an event or person as close to the occurrence as possible. Primary sources often include:

Addresses, speeches, interviews

Art work

Audio or Video recordings (radio or television program)


Correspondence, letters (e-mail)

Data sets

Documentaries (may also be Tertiary)

Historical fiction

Minutes of meetings

Newspaper articles

Original legal documents (birth certificates, wills, etc.)

Research-based articles/Research reports

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are those which provide application, commentary, evaluation, or interpretation of a primary source. Keep in mind that different disciplines may define primary, secondary, and tertiary sources differently. In most cases, secondary sources include:


Bibliographies (may also be Tertiary)


Encyclopedias (may also be Tertiary)

Journal and magazine articles

Non-fiction monographs (books)

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources are information sources which present a combination of both primary and secondary type information. In most cases, tertiary sources include:

Bibliographies (may also be secondary)

Subject-specific dictionaries and encyclopedias (may also be primary or secondary)

Journal/magazine articles (may also be primary or secondary)

Textbooks (may also be secondary)