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Visual Studies

This guide will help you with research related to art history and visual culture.

Primary Sources

Primary Sources were either created during the time period being studied, or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs) and they reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. 


Original Documents (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records

Creative Works: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art

Relics or Artifacts: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources interpret and analyze primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them.


Dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and books and articles that interpret or review research works.