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Research Guides@Tufts

Cold War Era in Latin America: Home

A research guide to support HIST0192 (Research Seminar: Latin America)

Welcome to My Research Sources for Cold War Era in Latin America!

Chao Chen, your class research librarian
Email:; Tel: 617• 627• 2057

chao chen  

Primary Sources

(Courtesy of Micah Saxton, PhD MLIS, research librarian at Tufts.)

What is a primary source?

  • A primary source is a document, image, artifact, or dataset that provides first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning the object of research. Primary sources may include, but are not limited to, artwork, correspondence, diaries, interviews, literary texts, material artifacts, newspapers, speeches, statistics, and videos.

Why should I use primary sources?

  • You should use this type of source to provide evidence for your thesis or the basis of your interpretation on a topic.

Evaluating Primary Sources

  • What do you know about the creator(s)?
  • What biases are at work in the source?
  • Who is the original audience of the sources?
  • What is the original significance of the source?
  • Has the source been altered in any way from its original form?
  • How does the source inform your understanding of your research topic?
  • How has the source been used by other scholars? Do you agree with scholarly interpretations of this source?

Looking for Primary sources

Your particular challenge for this course is that you need to find primary sources with Latin American perspectives, but in the English Language. There are two possible strategies:1. find books and journal articles on your research interests and check their bibliographies for primary sources; 2. search directly in collections of primary sources.

1. Some print books as or with primary sources at Tisch:

Click on a Subject Term below to search for that subject term in JumboSearch. Then, add your own keywords to search for possible primary sources you could use:

2. Historical Newspapers

3. Digital Collections of Primary Sources:

(Tufts subscriptions)

(Open access)

Secondary Sources

(Courtesy of Micah Saxton, PhD MLIS, research librarian at Tufts.)

What is a secondary source?

  • A secondary source is a scholarly discussion based on primary sources. Typically, a secondary source contains original research.

Why should I use secondary sources?

  • Secondary sources are useful for in-depth analysis of your topic and for learning about scholarly perspectives on your topic. You can use a secondary source as a conversation partner about a topic or you can take the methodology from a secondary source an apply it to a new research question.

What are some examples of secondary sources?

  • Secondary sources include articles, blogs, books (often called monographs), lectures, podcasts, and scientific reports. Any kind of scholarly liter can be a secondary source.

Pro tip: Although the distinction between primary sources and secondary sources is useful, it is not absolute. A secondary source may become a primary source depending on the researcher's perspective. Consider a textbook on American history from the 1990's. If a researcher uses the textbook for a scholarly perspective on the civil rights movement, then it is a secondary source. However, if the researcher uses the textbook to as evidence of curriculum in the 1990's, then it is a primary source.

Finding Books and Journal Articles


Sample Titles from JumboSearch:

1. Background Readings: (Use these titles to help narrow your research topic, find data to support your thesis, and identify keywords and main ideas to use as search terms.)

2. Monographs and Collections of Essays:

3. Following are some subject browse on some relevant topics:

Using a combination of keyword terms and subject headings often returns more specific (and hopefully useful) results than just using keywords.  For more recently published books, it will also return results that match chapter titles, which is useful if you're looking at an edited collection.

(Subject Databases for ) Journal Articles 

1. Latin American Studies

2. Related Subject Databases