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RE 2725: Religious and Spiritual Traditions: Daoism: Primary Sources

Primary Sources for Humanities

Primary sources are materials that provide firsthand testimony to a subject under investigation. Researchers often use these firsthand accounts to understand events and movements from the viewpoint of people living during that time period. Primary sources include documents and artifacts created during the time period under study. These documents and artifacts might include books, letters, diaries, photographs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, government records, songs, poems, and videos. Primary sources also include writings and recordings by witnesses who experienced the events or conditions being documented. For example, oral histories, autobiographies, and memoirs are primary sources.

In religious studies, primary sources include sacred texts and writings by religious officials or practitioners of the religion. 

Examples of Websites with Primary Sources

To find primary sources via Google, try adding keywords like documents, primary sources, documentary history, or sourcebook to your search terms. Primary sources can often be found on library, museum, and government websites. 

Examples of Primary Source Collections: 

Primary Sources: Books at WPI

Sometimes collections of primary source documents are republished in books. To find books like these, search WPI Library Search for books about your topic and add keywords like documents, primary sources, documentary history, essential readings, sacred texts, autobiography, or sourcebook to your search terms. 

Here are some examples of books containing reprinted primary sources: