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Primary Sources

What is AM Research Methods?

What are primary sources? Where do you find them? How can you use them in your research? Why are some historical documents archived while others disappear? Why does it matter today?

AM Research Methods is an exciting new platform that introduces humanities and social science students to the key approaches and methodologies of working with source material. Designed to be used in the classroom or for independent study, this resource will empower students to engage with primary sources and assess historical evidence with confidence. 

At the heart of Research Methods, you will find nearly 200 hundred essays, videos, "How to" guides and case studies by subject specialists which answer all of your questions about working with primary sources. From guidance on where you can find historical documents, to the questions you might want to pose and how best to approach analyzing the content they hold, this platform gathers together practical advice and instruction from experts working around the world.


AM Research Methods is divided into 3 sections:

Learning Tools

The Learning Tools comprise scholarly interviews, archive introductions, practical "How to" guides and essays on the big topics that underpin your research. Whether you want to find out what a primary source is, learn how to read a library catalogue or undertake in-depth data mining, this is where you'll find the advice to get started.


We encourage beginners to start with the page explaining What is a Primary Source?

Under each video you will be able to access the transcript, this will help you to find the information you are looking for, quickly.


In the Learning Tools section find information about Primary sources, such as:
- What is a Primary Source?
- How do I use Primary Sources in my research?
- Learn more information about the archives and their treatment.
- The different types of Archives.
- "How to" guides

Case Studies

In this section find over 100 case studies written by Academics, divided by source types, themes and data sets.
In each case studies you will find the following information:

  • Author: information about the author of the case study
  • Learning Outcomes
  • The Source(s), the case study is based on
  • Source Transcript (if the source is a video)
  • Initial Steps and Questions
  • Contextual Information
  • Source Analysis Questions
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Postevaluation Questions
  • Further Research Considerations
  • Further Resources
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

You can download the PDF version.

Practice Sources

Over 300 historical items from around the world, to put the lessons of the Learning Tools and Case Studies into practice.

Example: Sino-Spanish Codex (Boxer Codex), c.1590