Primary sources in this case might include economic statistics, memoirs of politicians from the period or reportage in east European newspapers (available in English or other languages). You might also arrange an interview with an expert in the field: a noted scholar, a British government representative, a prominent journalist.The point about primary sources is that they take you as close as possible to where the action isthe real, on-the-ground, rubber-meets-the-road facts from which you will construct your interpretive argument.
How do different electoral systems affect the behavior of political parties?
The point is that you should attempt to identify either: Professional social scientistshistorians, political scientists, sociologists, international affairs expertswork on both these kinds of questions.
There are, however, gradations of primary evidence.
The best sources are those in original languages that are linked to persons directly involved in the event or development that you are researching.
In your research, you should endeavor to get as close as possible to the events or phenomena you are studying.
But, of course, no one can speak every language and interview every participant in a political or social event.
Most university courses involve some sort of extended writing assignment, usually in the form of a research paper. Long after you leave college, you will continue learning about the world and its vast complexities.
Papers normally require that a student identify a broad area of research related to the course, focus the topic through some general background reading, identify a clear research question, marshal primary and secondary resources to answer the question, and present the argument in a clear and creative manner, with proper citations. There is no better way to hone the skills of life-long learning than by writing individual research papers.
In the best published social science writing you will be able to identify a clear how or why question at the heart of the research.
How and why questions are essential because they require the author to make an argument.