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Student Success - Evansville: Evaluating Sources

What is a Primary Resource?

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.

Some types of primary sources include:

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 OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
A journal article reporting NEW research or findings 
Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece 


What is a Secondary Resource?

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.

Some types of secondary sources include:

PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias 

Examples of secondary sources include:

A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings 
A history textbook 
A book about the effects of WWI 


Primary vs Secondary Sources

Periodicals: Scholarly vs Popular

Scholarly vs Popular Articles

Presented by Georgia State University Libraries


THIS is an Academic Database!

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