Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources vs. Secondary
Primary Sources
 Contemporary accounts of an event written by the person
who witnessed or experienced it first hand.
 Original documents; not about another document or
 Published works, as long as they are written during or soon
after the fact and not as historical accounts.
Primary Sources include
 Diaries
 Research reports
 Letters
 Art
 Memoirs
 Government documents
 Journal
 Original literary or
 Speeches
 Manuscripts
 Statistical data
 Interviews
 Photographs
 Audio/video recordings
theatrical works
 Autobiographies
 Artifacts
 Maps
Examples of Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
 Interpret primary sources; at least one step removed from
the event or phenomenon under review.
 Examination of studies that researchers made of a subject.
 Secondhand accounts; conveys the experiences and opinions
of others.
Secondary Sources include
 Usually in the form of published works
 Journal and magazine articles
 Books
 Biographies
 Radio and TV documents
Examples of Secondary Sources
How do you know? Ask yourself...
 How does the author know these details?
 Was the author present at the event or soon on the scene?
 Where does the information come from? Personal
experience, eyewitness accounts or reports written by
 Are the author’s conclusions based on a single piece of
evidence, or have many sources been taken into account?
Primary or Secondary Sources?
 Newspaper, magazine and journal articles can be a primary
or secondary sources.
 If the article was written at the time something happened, then
it is a primary source.
 Example: Articles written on Obama’s inauguration in 2009 are
primary sources. However, if a reporter in 2012 wrote about
Washington’s inauguration using information written by
someone else in 1789, that would be a secondary source.
Questions??? Comments....
Contact Tracy Ponder at...
[email protected]
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