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Primary vs Secondary Sources: Get Started
This page defines and gives examples of primary and secondary sources. It explains how primary sources can be used for research and secondary sources are used in research. It also explains how a source can be both depending on the situation.
Original documents (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records
Creative Works: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art
Relics of Artifacts: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings
Examples of primary sources include:
Video or audio recordings like the news archives of the Associated Press Newswire Service
Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII
Declaration of Independence. - U.S. History
A journal article reporting new research or findings such as those found in the SCOPUS database
Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece
Legal Cases such as those found in Lexis-Nexis
Some types of SECONDARY SOURCES
A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them.
Journal articles which interpret or review previous findings
Examples of secondary sources include:
A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings