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Primary sources

Primary sources usually give us a first-hand account or description of an event witnessed. Primary sources are not just for studying the past; they also help us understand and make meaning from current events.

Common examples of primary sources include: photographs; newspapers; audio recordings (e.g., radio broadcasts); video recordings (e.g., newsreels, films, bystanders); diaries and letters; government or legal records; speeches; autobiographies and memoirs; creative works; and more.

Before you start your search for primary sources check out the following resource. 

Secondary sources

You can adapt the following sample search for your topic and research needs: 

 Original search string Peer-reviewed articles Books/ebooks
 sikh* AND canad* link (limited to English language resources) link


Additional search tips:

  • search for other types of resources, not just articles or books
  • add words that describe your specific topic in more detail
  • limit the date range if you want newer (or older) sources
  • add words that define a geography or population (e.g. Alberta, Canadians), or a particular group (e.g., women, men, children, the elderly)

You can also check the Resources by Religion: Sikhism section for specific types of resources..

We tend to trust websites published by universities, research groups, governments, and non-profits, but it's always important to evaluate your sources. You can then power up your Google searches with these search tips:

  • = limits your searches to Government of Canada web domain (example)
  • site:edu = limits your searches to most US universities and colleges (example)
  • allintitle:sikh diaspora canada = words after allintitle: must appear in the title of the page (example)
  • allintext:sikh soldiers canada = words after allintext: must appear in the page text (example)


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Cari Merkley

Phone: 403.440.5068
Office: EL4423U