Primary sources are first-hand accounts created by participants in or witnesses to a particular event. The writers of these accounts are CONTEMPORARY to the event. Examples of primary sources include diaries, letters, speeches, memoirs, autobiographies, interviews, transcripts of oral history sessions, treaties, church records, census records, photographs, maps, and certain government publications.
Secondary sources are documents based upon or derived from primary sources. There are many examples of secondary sources, including books which summarize previous research, or interpret or analyze primary sources. Books are an ESSENTIAL element in the research process.
Use the following questions to help you evaluate a historic document: