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Starting points for research in Education

Other Important Considerations

Empirical Research
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology to be 'empirical' research is "1. derived from or denoting experimentation or systematic observations as the basis for conclusion or determination, as opposed to speculative, theoretical, or exclusively reason-based approaches. 2. based on experience."

Peer Review
Refers to the process that a scholarly book or journal article goes through when an authors research and writing is evaluated by experts in their discipline or field.  In the case of a journal article, peers review articles to determine if they'll be accepted and published in a specific journal.  In the case of psychology journals expert peers are evaluating and checking the accuracy and originality of the research being reported on.

Archives & Special Collections Hours

Spring 2020 update:

The Archives & Special Collections is currently unable to host in-person researchers. If you need assistance or would like to set up a virtual appointment, please email us at

A small selection of digitized material from the Archives & Special Collections is available online 24/7.

Primary Sources in Education

Primary sources in Education depend on the course you're in, and the project you're working on.

When developing curriculum material, primary sources could be a novel, story, poem, film, diary, speech, letter, autobiography or newspaper article.  Or a primary source could be an image, map, photograph or other type of art work.  As long as it's an "original" source created by the author or artist.

While in education research a primary source is a report of an original research study.  Primary sources are written by the researcher(s) who conducted the study and are generally published in journal articles, technical reports from research institutions or educational organizations, or in conference proceedings.

Primary Sources in Psychology

Are original materials based on first-hand accounts of research conducted by the author(s). They are usually written at the time the research is occurring or shortly after the research is complete, and they present new information or discoveries.

Primary sources in psychology:

  • are written accounts of original research, study, or experimentation conducted by the author(s) of the resource.
  • are written accounts of primary research and are typically published in scholarly, peer-reviewed, journals, and are often published by professional associations or academic institutions.
  • are often research articles and generally contain standard components, and follow a specific format or pattern.
    • typically they include an abstract, a methods section, discussion, a conclusion and references.
  • can be found by looking for clues.
    • read the abstract of an article and look for statements like:
      • The research we conducted shows . . .
      • The aim of our study was . . .
      • We looked at two groups of children . . .
      • Our research concluded that . . .

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Education

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues.

A small selection of material is listed below, for additional sources, please contact

The Claire and Don Egge Collection on China, 1987-1999, contains a small number of books and pamphlets on Chinese education, culture, politics, economics, and business, maps, and similar material collected by an American couple living and teaching for four years in China.

The John M. Finney Student papers, 1963-1986, include academic work completed by Finney as an undergraduate student at the University of Puget Sound, class schedules, class notes, assignments, syllabi, essays and an undergraduate thesis, and UPS Boggle Players Association records.

The Abby Williams Hill papers, 1880s-1930s, document the life and work of this female painter and social activist in the early 20th century.  Hill was especially interested in early education and was active in the Congress of Mothers (today's Parent Teacher Association).

In addition, the Archives & Special Collections holds a number of former professors' papers related to their teaching at Puget Sound.  These include Francis Wayland Hanawalt, Walter S. Davis, Leroy Ostransky, Lyle Shelmidine, and James Slater.

What's a primary source?

Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information.  Scholars analyze primary sources in order to answer research questions. Examples of primary sources vary by discipline.

Examples in the humanities:

  • a novel
  • a painting
  • a theatre performance

Examples in the social sciences:

  • a political, social, or economic theory
  • a dataset
  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Example in the sciences:

  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Need help?

This guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you.  If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Andrea!

Andrea Klyn
Social Sciences Liaison Librarian
tel: (253) 879-2875
office:  Collins Library 141

Request an Appointment with Andrea