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Ralph Bunche Summer Institute

A library guide to support the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute student projects.

Ralph Bunche Summer Institute

Ralph Bunche Summer Institute Logo

Primary and Secondary Sources: What's the Difference?

Michigan History

paradise valley historical marker


Establishing Credibility

Check for Previous Work: Do two separate sources confirm the original report? Are the sources unbiased and independent?

Go Upstream: Find the source of the original report (statistics, journal, government site, newspaper). Is it reputable?

Read Laterally: Read other reports of the same story. Are they from different sources? Do they confirm or conflict with original report?

Circle Back: Go back to check for previous work when the source is not trustworthy, or a presented statement or fact has become complex, or there are multiple sub-claims. Try a new search of different fact checking sites or find alternate sources.

Adapted from: Caulfield, M. A. (2017). Web literacy for student fact checkers. Pressbooks: Simple Book Productions. Retrieved from

Suggestions for searching

Detroit discrimination housing

Detroit social change

Detroit culture politics

Detroit race relations

Detroit police relations

Detroit environmental justice


Articles from 1923 through 1998 are not available digitally--you would need to use microfilm. Microfilm is an old but stable technology used to preserve printed materials. At Wayne State University, you can use microfilm readers in the Purdy/Kresge library to read and save (to PDF) materials that are available on microfilm.

Beyond Google: Hidden Sites

Beyond Google: Michigan Electronic Library (MeL)

Beyond Google: Wayne State Library Databases and ebooks