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PRIMARY & SECONDARY SOURCES: Home

Primary Source Example

Primary Source Example

Primary Source Example

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original materials, including firsthand accounts of events, such as:

  • Interviews
  • Diaries
  • Autobiographies
  • Speeches
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Empirical research
  • Legal and government documents
  • Email messages
  • Blogs
  • Artifacts

Primary sources also include creative works of art and literature, such as the following:

  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Poems
  • Plays
  • Novels
  • Short stories

In the Humanities, primary sources include creative works of literature and the visual arts. Examples of primary sources in the Social Sciences include autobiographies, case studies, diaries, and journals of persons living in a specific time period.

Primary sources are located in libraries and archives (both print and digital), journals, newspapers, and recordings. As a student working with primary sources, you will be providing commentary, analysis, and evaluation of primary source materials.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources discuss, analyze, comment upon, interpret, evaluate, and/or summarize primary sources. Secondary sources:

  • Are written after the fact
  • Do not represent eyewitness or firsthand knowledge
  • Are found in libraries, books, journals, newspapers, and magazines

Examples of secondary sources include:

  • Literary criticism
  • Film reviews
  • Biographies
  • Journal articles discussing results of original research
  • Legal commentaries

When you use secondary sources in your research, you need to provide citations for them.

Secondary Source Example

Seconday Source Example

Secondary Source Example