Answered By: Lauren Puzier
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2020     Views: 3

Primary sources are firsthand documents that provide direct evidence on your topic. A primary source is most often created during the time of the events you are studying occurred, such as newspaper articles from the same period, correspondence, diplomatic records, original research reports and notes, diaries, etc. They may also include items created after the events occurred, but that recount them such as autobiographies and oral histories.

"Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience."  Library of Congress

Adapted from Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources, by Sotheby's Institute of Art New York Library, licensed under (CC BY-SA 4.0)


Secondary Sources are written after something has happened. This information includes interpretations and evaluations of primary information such as, a history book based on primary historical sources, a scientific report based on experimental notes, or a critique of a poem, play, or piece of literature.

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