Using an archives can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. When I teach my students how to visit archives, I highlight nine vital questions to ask themselves to make their time in an archives the most productive and fulfilling it can be.
To produce sound historical research, we need reliable primary sources. Records created at the same time as an event, or as close as possible to it, usually have a greater chance of being accurate than records created years later, especially by someone without firsthand knowledge of the event. When you are conducting research, you want to corroborate the contents of the document you are working with with information from other sources that have been proven to be legitimate
Conducting archival research can be challenging. Unlike libraries, which have assets with consistent information, archives preserve and provide access to unique materials.
Trained as an archivist, I also work as a researcher, so I have a 360-degree perspective on archives. In a graduate-level course on research methods I teach, I offer the following suggestions to my students.