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ENGL 102: Pirates: Overview

Types of Resources

Primary resources are documents original to a particular point in the past. They provide evidence of the events and perspectives of a time. Examples:

  • Novels, plays, and other literary works
  • Letters and diaries
  • Government documents
  • Newspaper and periodical articles
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Photographs

Secondary resources synthesize primary resources, personal experience, close reading, and original arguments to make a claim. Secondary resources can lend other voices to support or counter your own claim. Examples:

  • Scholarly articles
  • Biographies
  • Literature reviews

Background resources are topical overviews which can provide context. Examples:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Almanacs
  • Textbooks

Quirks of 17th-18th c. Resources

Reading 17th and 18th century documents has its quirks. When working with these resources, remember to look for these options:

Variant spellings: Before the standardization of English, many words had a number of alternate spellings. Check to see if your database has a variant spellings feature, or enter variants manually.

The long S: This symbol ſ was used when S appeared in the beginning and middle of a word.

U and V: These letters used to be interchangable, with v appearing at the beginning of a word and u in the middle.

Dates: Some databases may permit searches outside of your date range, so take care to limit dates if necessary.

Imagine the Possibilities

Primary Resource Databases

Secondary Resource Databases