American History


Everyone needs to find and list 3 potential secondary sources (3 total, not 3 for each passage) that will be useful in providing context and significance for the primary source passage(s) you plan on using for your paper. Good secondary sources are books, essays or detailed articles from historical journals, magazines or reference books.

Remember that a secondary source is from the present looking back on the period you are studying.

Please note the topic of your paper. Each secondary source needs to be listed in correct citation format, and you need to include an assessment of:

the reliability of the source and

its relevance to your topic.


See the Model Answer or Hints below for an example.
Use the attached form below as a template for your answer.

Carefully consider the questions about your sources that I ask on the form.

Our librarians can help with the Foothill Library collections and you can explore on your own through online databases like America: History and Life (accessed through the Foothill Library website).
Topic: travel in the West in the late 1800s, observation of a Wild West show.


1) Hyslop, Stephen G. “How The West Was Spun.” American History 43.4 (2008): 26-33. America: History and Life with Full Text. Web. 13 Oct. 2013.
[Note: I just cut and pasted this full citation from the America: History and Life database — Chicago/Turabian style. Most online databases will have a function that can help you with citing sources correctly.]

Reliability — The information comes from a noted history magazine which I assume has been reviewed by editors and experts in the field before being published. Mr. Hyslop is the author of many books on the American West and an editor of the Time-Life series on American Indians.

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Relevance – This magazine article examines the misrepresentations of Western history in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.

Provide a full citation, reliability and relevance for each secondary source you list.


Analyze secondary sources Name:
What is your topic?
Fully cite each of your secondary sources (Use the Foothill Citation Guide for help here):
For each source, indicate how you know the information from the source is reliable (Who created the
source and what are their credentials? Has the source been reviewed by experts?).
What specific information will you find in each source that will add clarity and context to the
information from your primary source?