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Primary sources are generally defined as material produced at the time of an event, or by a person being studied. Examples of primary sources are:
Whenever possible, primary sources should be consulted. The thoughts of those who lived through an era or an event provide you with first-hand perspective and allow you to question and challenge the assumptions made in secondary sources. Examining primary sources can also help you develop a thesis.
Primary sources can be difficult to find. Most databases do not have an option that allows for direct searching on primary sources. They are often interspersed in books or disorganized in large collections of materials.
Detailed information about how to locate primary sources can be found on our Finding Primary Sources page.
The databases below are also collections of primary source material useful for East Asian Studies.