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Middle School/Upper School Research: Home

About Research

Primary Sources: Primary sources are documents, artifacts, and ephemera from the time being studied or analyzed. They are created by individuals who experienced the events or conditions being documented or were created at the time. Primary sources can include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories, which may have been recorded after the fact. Analyzing primary sources is the heart of the historian's craft as they allow historians and scholars to get as close as possible to the people and events of the past.

Secondary Sources: Secondary sources (usually articles or books) analyze, annotate, and review information from primary sources and other secondary sources. Secondary sources are the conversation scholars engage in with history and with each other. Secondary sources are a critical respoitory of information and often discuss findings from primary sources that cannot be accessed elsewhere.

Tertiary Sources: Tertiary sources are encyclopedias or other fast-fact sources, whether digital or in print; tertiary sources present a synthesis of information but do not provide new analysis. They often do not include specific citations, although a general "sources" or "further reading" section is not uncommon. While some tertiary sources are specialized enough that they should be cited in a paper, most tertiary sources, such as a general encyclopedia, are not traditionally cited.

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Brearley is now partnered with New York Public Library! We will be offering library card sign-up at school in the coming months, as well as other special incentives. Brearley students are eligible for NYPL Student cards, which carry no fines and allow for more checkouts.  To get a new card (or upgrade your current card to a student card) before the sign-up events, fill out this application, take it to any branch, and they will process your card. Remember to set up your 4-digit PIN at the same time, so you can access the fabulous NYPL databases!

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