If you are unsure of where to begin in identifying historical events that will help you contextualize the current issue you have chosen to study, consulting a tertiary or background source early on in your study may be helpful in identifying key events, dates, people and organizations.
Recommended background sources for Canadian history:
*Note that these are tertiary sources, which can be useful launchpads to your research, though they are not peer-reviewed or based on original research.
Primary sources are texts or other artefacts created at the time a historical event occurred, by people or groups who participated in or observed the event. They can take many, many forms, including the following:
Legislation: An Act to Restrict and Regulate Chinese Immigration to Canada (a.k.a. Chinese Immigration Act
Government debates (also known as Hansard): Standing Committee on Immigration and Labour (Senate Committees,12th Parliament, 3rd Session from1915)
Organizational documents: Canadian Civil Liberties Association Submission on the Temporary Measures Act
News articles (contemporary or historical): Emergencies Act Needed: Security Adviser Former National Defence Deputy Minister Says Measures Were Justified
Propaganda / promotional literature: Vaccination in Canada: A Reply to Pamphlet Published by Public Health Board of Ontario
Hands On ⇒ Now think about your own essay topic - what sorts of primary sources might be relevant and helpful to your topic? If you have already identified some specific primary sources, what are they?
Take a minute to share you responses in this Jamboard.
Skim articles & book chapters for primary source leads: Examine the footnotes/references for titles of specific primary sources. Look carefully at the text for names of individual and organizations who are likely to have produced relevant primary sources.
Example article: Public Vaccination in Lower Canada, 1815-1823.:
Once you have some leads, search for them using the following tools:
For a more exhaustive list of Canadian historical primary source collections, visit the Primary Sources for Canadian History tab of this research guide.
Your secondary sources should be scholarly in nature, written by academics for other academics, based on research with ample references/footnotes, and published by an academic press (so in a peer reviewed journal, or in a book published by an academic publisher/university press).