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Construction Trades & Management: Writing Papers

This guide contains resources for students in the many construction fields

MLA 8th Edition



Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source provides firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, work of art or time period.

  • Examples:
    • a Civil War diary
    • speeches or oral history
    • photos or posters
    • newspaper ads
    • census records
    • clothing from early settlers

A secondary source summarizes, analyzes, or comments

  • Examples:
    • textbook
    •  journal or magazine
    • dictionaries or encyclopedias
    • library book about the subject

These links provide further information about primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, and how you can use these sources in your course assignments.

Popular vs. Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Sources

  • Most of the library databases will tell you what type of source you are reading - popular or scholarly/peer-reviewed.
  • Popular: written and then "fact checked" by an editor, written for the general public, but seldom includes the list of sources used in writing the article.
    • Examples: Dallas Morning News, New York Times, American History Illustrated
  • Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed: research focus with findings, written for researchers, tend to be longer with more depth and detail, has a list of sources used in writing the article within the article
    • Examples: Journal of American History, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Education

Image Sources

  • Many of the library databases include image databases.  Many of the eBooks will include photos along with the article information.  BONUS:  you'll only need one citation/credit if you get a photo + article information from the same source!
  • Government websites 
    • use site:gov with your key word search in Google
  • There are also depositories of historical images put together by museums and historical organizations.
    • Examples: Library of Congress American Memory, Smithsonian, New York Public Library