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Big Chicago

This guide includes useful resources for exploring Chicago-related topics. These are only a starting point. For further resources in various disciplines try relevant research guides at

Primary vs Secondary vs Tertiary Sources

  Primary Sources Secondary Sources Tertiary Sources
Description Raw data, original sources, first-hand accounts Analysis or interpretation of data Compilation of data
Examples interviews, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles written at the time, novels, plays, artwork journal articles, movie reviews, biographies, textbooks, editorials reference lists, bibliographies, library catalogs

BEAM Method

Popular vs Scholarly Sources

  Popular Sources Scholarly Sources
Description Written for a general audience, often broader scope Written by experts for an expert audience, often a very narrow scope
Examples The Washington Post, The New Yorker Journal for the History of Rhetoric, Indonesian Journal Of Applied Linguistics


Remember that the difference between "popular" and "scholarly" sources is not "bad sources" versus "good sources"! Different sources can be good for different information needs.