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Primary Source Research and Discovery

An introduction to primary source research

How do I start?

First steps to conducting primary source research

Select your topic

Research may be thematic, but selecting a person, place, or event can make your primary source research experience more effective. Looking at published sources related to the topic can help provide contextual information for your primary source research.

Identify the collection(s) you will consult in your research, and the boxes you will see.

Collection Guides (or Finding Aids) contain an inventory listing collection materials and boxes. Based on your research needs, decide what boxes you will want to see. There are no limits to the amount of content you can research, but we do restrict active searching to a single box at a time.

Schedule an appointment

Scheduling time to visit the archives is important for successful research. Depending on your research question, the amount of material you will be consulting and hours of operation, you may need to schedule multiple visits. This is quite common. 

Talk with the archivists

Before you visit the archives, call ahead or email staff to discuss your research topic. This will help the department ready materials for your visit and make the best use of your research time.

CSUDH Reading Room Guidelines

Please view this short 1-minute video on what to expect when you visit us.