Skip to main content

Political Science: Subject Guide: Primary Sources

Find information and resources for research in Political Science.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are generally created by a participant in, or direct observer of, an event. Examples are photographs, books or articles published during a time under study, recorded or transcribed interviews, government documents, films, letters, diaries, works of art, and published reports of experiments conducted by scientists or social scientists.

Primary sources do not have to be used in their original form - they may be reproduced electronically, printed or published later and still be considered primary sources.

Secondary Sources

On the other hand, secondary sources include interpretation or analysis of events by an author who was not present. Secondary sources are a step removed from an event or time period. Examples include books and articles, documentary films, reference books, and textbooks.

Special Collections at SU

Special Collections

At the Southwestern University Special Collections, you can study rare and unique books and manuscripts. Special Collections materials cannot be checked out; instead, the John G. Tower Library reading room provides an elegant and comfortable space to read and study these materials. Check out the Special Collections hours, policies, and procedures for more information.

Collection of Interest: John G. Tower Papers

John Goodwin Tower, a Southwestern alumnus, represented Texas in the United States Senate from 1961 through 1984. Before his retirement, he named Southwestern University as the official repository for his papers.