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Last Updated: Oct 4, 2017 URL: Print Guide

Primary vs. Secondary Print Page

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary sources include:

Contemporary accounts of an event written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event.

Original documents (not about another document or account) including diaries, letters, memoirs, speeches, manuscripts, and interviews.

Newspaper or magazine articles written soon after the fact and not as historical accounts; also, photographs, audio or video recordings, research reports in the natural or social sciences, and original literary or theatrical works.


Secondary sources:

Interpret, evaluate and draw conclusions about the events described or reported in  primary sources.

Are written after the event and with the benefit of hindsight.

Are usually in the form of published works such as journal articles or books, but may include radio or television documentaries.




    Primary Sources - Social Sciences

    Primary Sources - Sciences


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