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FILM 3020 - Film Studies (Ben Schultz-Figueroa)

What are Primary Sources?

Primary Sources are immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic, from people who had a direct connection with it. Primary sources related to your assignment can include:

  • Newspaper reports, by reporters who viewed a film, and/or who quote people who did.
  • Speeches, diaries, letters, and interviews - what the people involved said or wrote.
  • Original research about a film or topic.
  • Datasets, survey data, such as census or economic statistics, box office numbers, etc.
  • Photographs, video, or audio that capture an event.

We do have an entire guide on primary sources if you're interested or want more detail:

Finding historical primary documents

Searching a collection of newspapers or magazines:

Searching a single newspaper or magazine:

Streaming Film

Relevant Vocabulary

  • Photoplay
  • motion picture
  • motion photography
  • moving pictures
  • cinematograph
  • film
  • movies

Database tutorials and instructions

AM Explorer Support Videos: Getting Started and Browsing
JSTOR support for students: instructions and tips for searching and citation 
Chronicling America: FAQ and instructions
ProQuest basics: instructional video
Newsbank: instructional video 

Searching Techniques

Boolean Operators 
This handout by Prince George's Community College is a visual representation of how boolean operators work and how they can help narrow or broaden your results.


Using Different Type of Keywords 
When brainstorming more keywords try thinking of different types of keywords: narrower (for specific results), broader (general results), similar (synonyms), and related (information about related topics).