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History and Philosophy of Social Work: Resources from Social Work

Contemporaneous Research in Social Work

The following encyclopedias are in print in the reference section of OSF Library -- on the first floor near the coffee shop, Stacks.

Primary Sources

How are Primary Sources Different between Fields?

Generally, primary sources are the materials you use when analyzing a question. Different fields determine primary sources differently, because they do research differently.

In humanities and fine arts, primary sources are the creator's works, manuscripts,  data from the time period, transcripts of events, and letters.

In the social sciences and sciences, primary sources are raw data or reports of experiments and studies -- research papers.

In this case, we are using the research papers as primary sources the way that historical research uses primary sources -- to tell us what occured and how people interpreted their world at the time the papers were written.

Why use Primary Sources?

Faculty want you to use primary sources so that you can learn the research processes of your field. They also want you to decide on your own if other researchers' interpretations are correct.

Looking at the data that researchers and theorists use allows you to come to conclusions on your own.