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This campus guide provides resources and recommendations for students completing research in Professor Reid Kerr's genre essay.

What Is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event or an era created by participants in that event or era.  These are original documents, artworks, or artifacts that provide historical evidence upon which later analysis and reporting is based. 

 Examples of primary sources include the following:
     -Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches
     -Oral histories
     -Photographs, films
     -Art work [novels, poems, paintings, songs, murals, etc.]; Lyrics
     -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 or a new study, conducted for the first time
  • Is a product of its immediate time or era
  • Testifies, emotes, expresses

Primary and Secondary Sources

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