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American Government : Primary Resources

Library resources for assignments in Lanier Tech's POLS 1101 (American Government) course

Evaluating Websites

Evaluate carefully any information you find on the Web for:


Tips on Evaluating Websites

Scholarly, Popular & Trade Journals

Your instructor may require articles from scholarly journals (also called academic or peer-reviewed journals) instead of popular magazines.

There's also something called a trade journal.

Multiple magazines scattered on a table.

What's the difference? Here's a quick overview courtesy of Ithaca College Library.

What's a Primary Source?

Primary sources are the raw tools of historical research - the material closest to the topic of investigation.

Often they are created during the time period which is being studied (correspondence, diaries, newspapers, government documents, art) but they can also be produced later by eyewitnesses or participants (memoirs, oral histories).

You may find primary sources in their original format (usually in an archive) or reproduced in a variety of ways: books, microfilm, digital, etc.

Source: C-SPAN


Examples of primary sources especially relevant for political science research include but are not limited to:

Statutes (laws)
Papers of presidents and other government officials
Congressional hearings & documents
Court opinions
Government regulations
Speeches & interviews
News footage & newspaper accounts
Autobiographies & memoirs
Statistical data

Check out this brief YouTube video of a famous historical event for an explanation of primary vs. secondary sources.

Finding Primary Sources

The following are examples and just scratch the surface of places for finding primary sources relevant for American government & politics research.  Consult with your instructor or a librarian for more ideas.

Primary Sources for Georgia Government

Contact Us!

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Lanier Technical College Libraries

Marci Manglitz
Director of Library Services
Hall Campus


Min Su
Forsyth Campus


Tina Jordan
Dawson Campus


Angela Moss-Hill
Barrow & Jackson Campus