The information you find and use as you do research in humanities can be broken down into three types of sources: primary, secondary and tertiary.
Primary sources are original material created at the time of the event or by the subject you are studying. This uninterpreted material is used by humanities researchers to support their arguments and opions about their research topic. Examples include:
Secondary sources are works that interpret and analyze the primary sources. Examples include:
Tertiary sources index or collect primary and secondary sources. These sources tend to be most useful for background information and will lead you to the more in-depth secondary and primary material. Examples include:
Tertiary Resources are an excellent place to start your research as they can help you become familiar with your topic and give you strategies for narrowing your topic. Tertiary sources such as encyclopedias can provide you with:
There are two types of encyclopedias, general and subject.
These tertiary sources, which include both general and subject encyclopedias, can be used to find background material on your topic.