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Creative Writing

Personal Testimonies Research

Learning history from real people involved in real events brings life to history. For example, a newspaper article provides a view on an event or a person. An interview with a person involved in the event provides a human face for the event. Each person, no matter how seemingly insignificant, contributes to the world's story. Through researching primary and secondary sources, students become conversant with significant aspects of their topic. 


It is important to differentiate between primary and secondary sources and how to assess the relative importance of each in the research. How to access, interpret, analyze, and evaluate primary sources of various kinds is crucial.

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person or work of art. Characteristically, primary sources are contemporary to the events and people described and show minimal or no mediation between the document/artifact and its creator. As to the format, primary source materials can be written and non-written, the latter including sound, picture, and artifact. Examples of primary sources include:

  • personal correspondence and diaries
  • works of art and literature
  • speeches and oral histories
  • audio and video recordings
  • photographs and posters
  • newspaper ads and stories
  • laws and legislative hearings
  • census or demographic records

Secondary Sources

A secondary source, in contrast, lacks the immediacy of a primary record. As materials produced sometime after an event happened, they contain information that has been interpreted, commented, analyzed or processed in such a way that it no longer conveys the freshness of the original. History textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, interpretive journal articles, and book reviews are all examples of secondary sources. Secondary sources are often based on primary sources.

Library Search Tools

  • SUMMON SEARCH: Searches just about everything Kwantlen library has to offer! Books, articles, and more. This is a great place to start your research.
  • CATALOGUE: Books, e-books and multi-media only. Searches the Library’s book and multimedia collection (videos, DVDs). If you are looking for a specific book or DVD you may wish to start here.
  • RESEARCH DATABASES: Individual databases. Provides a list of all the databases to which Kwantlen subscribes. Research databases provide access to journal citations and full text articles.
  • JOURNAL TITLES: Determines if full text access to a journal is available.



CREDO Reference : Find background information from hundreds of full-text reference titles.

Canadian Points Of View: Essays presenting multiple viewpoints on current issues.



Academic Search Complete:
Interdisciplinary full text database of academic and popular journals covering an extremely wide and deep selection of subjects, topics and article types.

Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Complete:
A comprehensive reference and current events database.

JSTOR: Searchable archive of full text scholarly journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

Canadian Periodical Index: Canadian and international journals, magazines, Canadian biographies, and other reference content

Canadian Newsstream: full-text of major Canadian newspapers and most small-market BC papers




  • American Silent Feature Film Database
  • British Pathe - film footage from around the world: 1896 - 1976
  • Canadian Feature Film Database  -  Library and Archives Canada
  • European Film Gateway
  • EUscreen  -  access to videos, stills, texts and audio from European broadcasters and audiovisual archives
  • FedFlix - features the best movies of the United States Government, from training films to history, from our national parks to the U.S.
  • Films for Action - a community-powered learning library for people who want to change the world
  • Great Performances - clips from PBS music perfromances
  • Internet Archive  - This library contains digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts
  • National Geographic - video clips
  • National Screening Room - Library of Congress;
  • Open Vault  Open Vault provides online access to unique and historically important content produced by public television station WGBH for individual and classroom learning. The ever-expanding site contains video excerpts, searchable transcripts, a select number of complete interviews for purchase, and resource management tools.
  • PBS Learning Media
  • Westland - television series aired on the Knowledge Network from 1984 to 2007