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COMMUNICATION STUDIES: SUBJECT GUIDE: Primary Sources

Starting points for research in Communication Studies.

Primary Sources in Communcation Studies

Are original materials based on first-hand accounts of research conducted by the author(s). They are usually written at the time the research is occurring or shortly after the research is complete, and they present new information or discoveries.

Primary sources in Communication Studies:

  • are written accounts of original research, study, or experimentation conducted by the author(s) of the resource.
  • are written accounts of primary research and are typically published in scholarly, peer-reviewed, journals, and are often published by professional associations or academic institutions.
  • are often research articles and generally contain standard components, and follow a specific format or pattern.
    • typically they include an abstract, a methods section, discussion, a conclusion and a bibliography.
  • can be found by looking for clues.
    • read the abstract of an article and look for statements like:
      • The research we conducted shows . . .
      • The aim of our study was . . .
      • We looked at two groups of children . . .
      • Our research concluded that . . .

Speeches & Debates

Archives & Special Collections Hours

The Archives & Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Collins Memorial Library.

Set up an appointment: We are open to researchers by appointment Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. To make an appointment, email archives@pugetsound.edu

We look forward to assisting you!

Key Primary Sources in Communication Studies

A primary source in Communication Studies will depend on the context of your assignment.

Examples of primary sources include:

  • research based studies
  • films and television programs
  • radio broadcasts
  • speeches
  • debates
  • personal narratives
  • oral histories
  • news & editorials
  • advertising

Streaming Media

Kanopy and Films on Demand are streaming video services which provide access to a broad spectrum of educational and documentary content.

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Communication Studies

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues.

A small selection of material is listed below, for additional sources, please contact archives@pugetsound.edu.

The John M. Canse Pamphlet Collection, 1900-1935, contains booklets, pamphlets, and maps on the history and development of cities and counties in Washington, Oregon, and other states.

The Brown & Haley Lecture Series, 1953-2012, established in 1951, with the first lecture in 1953, was created and operated with funding from the Brown & Haley candy company of Tacoma, Washington, and organized and hosted by the University of Puget Sound.  The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, contracts, programs, and audio or video recordings of selected lectures.

What's a primary source?

Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information.  Scholars analyze primary sources in order to answer research questions. Examples of primary sources vary by discipline.

Examples in the humanities:

  • a novel
  • a painting
  • a theatre performance

Examples in the social sciences:

  • a political, social, or economic theory
  • a dataset
  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Example in the sciences:

  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal