Skip to Main Content

English - Controversial Topics: Writing Information

This guide focuses on searching for information about controversial topics.

MLA Style (9th)

APA Style Manual (7th)

Primary Source Information and Search Tips

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are records in real time or a first-hand descriptions of events. For example, journalists on the scene, an eyewitness, spectator, or an observer can all provide immediate accounts of an event. Among the many items considered as primary are narratives, interviews, diaries, letters, memos, memoirs, speeches, photographs, maps, oral histories, government records/documents, and more. The following links provide information about primary sources and the difference between different kinds of sources (primary, secondary, and tertiary).

Search Tips Using the library Discovery system to search for primary documents. For items owned by NSU Libraries, choose the "Books and Media" tab from the library home page (link below).

Enter in key terms and add some of the keywords to narrow the search for primary source information. Some of the items will not be primary sources in the keyword search, but many will be.

  • oral histor* (Note: by placing an asterisk, the search will look for all variations of the root word, e.g. history, histories, historical)
  • "oral history" (Note: enclosing the phrase by using quotations marks, the search will locate records with the complete phrase)
  • personal narratives
  • speeches
  • documents
  • diaries
  • memoirs
  • interviews
  • archives
  • microform
  • letters

Combine these keywords with search terms:

  • "cold war" and memoirs or use "cold war" memoirs
  • president speeches or use campaign speeches
  • reconstruction documents
  • immigration sources

Citation and Writing Assistance

Do you need help with citations or formatting?

The NSU Writing Center for the Tahlequah campus is located on the second floor of the John Vaughan Library, room #222. They can make an appointment for your tutoring session and walk-ins are also welcome. The phone number is (918) 444-3622. For further information and hours, visit the Writing Center's website(link below)

The Citation Station is a resource area on the 1st floor of the John Vaughan Library, near the atrium with a variety of handbooks and manuals. A writing center tutor is in the Library and available for individual assistance during specific hours when the Writing Center is closed. This assistance is free and an appointment is not necessary.

Citing Hints

Be aware when using any cite feature or citation feature in a database or online source to double check it for accuracy. It is important to have a working knowledge of the citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago) in order to recognize glitches or mistakes that may occur when copying and pasting information or exporting information into a citation manager.

Rule number one: As the author of your work, article, presentation, or research assignment, it is your responsibility to ensure all citations on the Reference or Works Cited page are correct. This also applies to your in text citations.

Rule number two: Check or review your work, references, quotes, paraphrasing, summarizing, citations, and format to make certain it is following the citation style requirements assigned by the professor or instructor.