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CINE 220: History of International Cinema: Types of Information

This guide provides students with resources necessary to complete research assignments for the course.

Types of Information

You'll use a variety of information sources for research projects. When researching a historical topic, you will want to find a combination of primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary sources in order to get a full picture. For example, if you are writing about a historic film, you may want to gather journals or notes from the making of the film itself in addition to critiques from the time period it was made (primary), but you will also want to get interpretations and critiques of the film that have been done more recently by historians (secondary).

Primary Sources

Primary sources provide an account of an event or person as close to the occurrence as possible. Primary sources often include:

  • Addresses, speeches, interviews
  • Art work
  • Audio or Video recordings (radio or television program)
  • Autobiographies
  • Correspondence, letters (e-mail)
  • Data sets
  • Documentaries (may also be Tertiary)
  • Historical fiction
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Newspaper articles
  • Original legal documents (birth certicates, wills, etc.)
  • Web sites

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are those which provide application, commentary, evaluation, or interpretation of a primary source. In most cases, secondary sources include:

  • Biographies
  • Bibliographies (may also be Tertiary)
  • Commentaries/Criticisms
  • Encyclopedias (may also be Tertiary)
  • Journal and magazine articles
  • Non-fiction monographs (books)
  • Websites

Types of Periodicals (Journals/Magazines)

Periodicals, i.e., journals and magazines are typically categorized into three types:


The journals in this category are written by experts, researchers, and scholars. They are published by professional organizations or educational institutions. The articles are text-based with few to no visual, except for graphics to visually organize the data. The articles go through a strict review process prior to being published. The references are usually extensive. Examples of this type include: Journal of Psychology & Chrisitianity; Strength and Conditional Journal


The journals/magazines in this category are written by professionals in a given profession or trade. The articles may or may not be reviewed, and are published by professional associations or publishers known to publish subject-specific content. The publications typically have graphics, job opening annoucements, and product advertisements relative to the profession or trade. The articles published in these publications take the research that is published in the academic journals and provide practical application for the research. The articles may or may not include references. Examples of this type include: American Cinematographer; Nursing Management


The magazines in this category may be written by freelance writers. The publications are glossy and attention-grabbing, and are filled with graphics and advertisements. The publications focus on a variety of interests based according to gender, entertainment, hobbies, news, and other special interests. Examples of this type include: Bride; Fortune; Men's Fitness; Sunset

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources are information sources which present a combination of both primary and secondary type information. In most cases, tertiary sources include:

  • Bibliographies (may also be secondary)
  • Subject-specific dictionaries and encyclopedias (may also be primary or secondary)
  • Journal/magazine articles (may also be primary or secondary)
  • Textbooks (may also be secondary)

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