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Religion 215: Religion and Queer Politics: Getting Started: Primary Source Collections

Selecting Your Primary Sources

For this research project, you'll likely need to work with primary source material that is:

  • Archival (unique print materials that may or may not have been intended for a wider audience or that are more ephemeral in nature);


  • Born-digital (organizational websites, social media sites, personal blogs).

The links below will help you identify appropriate primary source materials.


Analyzing and Interpreting Born-Digital Primary Sources

Modified CAARP Analysis Tool for Born-Digital Primary Sources

In the traditional CAARP rubric, you are evaluating information to determine whether you can use the source as a legitimate source of information.  When you are analyzing born-digital sources as primary sources, you can use the same criteria, but for a different purpose.  You are not judging the legitimacy of a primary source; rather, you are engaging with it and exploring it in order to understand it. For example, under "currency" you want to figure out if the group is still active, which might point towards the group believing that their goals have not yet been achieved. 


  • When was it written?
  • Does it appear to be frequently updated?
  • If it appears static, is the author/group using other communication avenues, such as Facebook or Twitter?


  • Who is the creator or author? (It may be a group or organization.)
  • What are this group's claims to authority?  What does that tell you about their beliefs and values?


  • Where does the information come from? 
  • Can you verify any of the information (for example, with other sources)?


  • How do other groups/individuals view this group?
  • How does the group situate itself within the larger society?


  • What is the group's or individual's goal?  (There might be more than one goal, or the goal may not be stated.)
  • Evaluate the verbal and visual rhetoric of the site. 

Humanities Librarian

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Peggy Burge
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