Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event or an era created by participants of the immediate time-period.
Primary sources are original documents, artworks, or artifacts that provide historical evidence upon which later analysis and reporting is based.
-Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches
-Art works [novels, poems, paintings, songs, murals, etc.]
-Artifacts [advertisements, posters, pamphlets, clothing, buildings, etc.]
-Original data, original research & case studies
-E-mail, blogs, Tweets
• Often uses first-person voice
"I saw... I escaped... I believed... We surveyed... We studied..."
• Has original, direct perspective
• Is an original, creative product;
a new study, conducted for the first time
• Is a product of its immediate time or era
• Testifies, emotes, expresses
...is never easy. How you go about it depends on your topic. It's a good idea to ask for personal help from a professor or librarian; they may recommend a specialized resource for your research. Here are some search tricks you can try:
» Search in a Library Catalog for books or publications that contain primary sources. Conduct an Advanced Search for...
» Search in digital collections hosted on the World Wide Web. Find a collection focussed on the era, region, or topic that you're researching and see what you can find including:
» Search in a database that supplies primary source materials, such as...
Secondary sources offer analysis and interpretation of primary sources. Secondary sources are typically published well after the events of the original time period.
A book analyzing an event that happened years before, or an essay interpreting a poem or speech--these are secondary sources.
-Analytical scholarly articles
-Analytical essays & critiques
-Book reviews, music reviews, art reviews
• Often uses third-person voice
"He saw... She escaped... They believed... They surveyed...
• Has second-hand, indirect perspective
• Dependent, derivational product
• Produced after some time has passed
• Reports upon, analyzes, interprets
Imagine you're studying the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II in the Manzanar relocation camp.
Consider each of the following resources and reflect: Is it a primary or secondary source?
Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000
GCC Home © 2023 - Glendale Community College. All Rights Reserved.