Primary Sources: Original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. They are first-hand observations, contemporary accounts of events, viewpoints of the time. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.
Secondary Sources: Works that analyze, assess, or interpret an historical event, era or phenomenon, generally utilizing primary sources to do so. They provide interpretation of information, usually written well after the event. They offer reviews or critiques.
|Primary Sources||Secondary Sources|
|Articles detailing original research||Books (except fiction & autobiographies)|
|Newspaper articles written at the time||Commentaries, crticisms|
|Oral & video recordings||Histories|
|Original documents (e.g., birth certificate, trial transcripts)||Articles (depending on the discipline these can be primary)|
|Records of organizations, government agencies (e.g., annual report, treaty, constitution)||Magazine and Newspaper Articles (this distinction varies by discipline)|
|Speeches||Dissertations & Theses|
|Survey Research (e.g., market surveys, public opinion polls)|
|Works of art, architecture, literature, and music)|
|Data, Statistics, etc.|