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Primary Sources

Researching Primary Sources

Your instructor may ask you to write a paper which is based on research using primary sources. What are primary sources?

From the Library of Congress website:

"Primary sources are the raw materials of history original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.

Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past."

What are Primary and Secondary Documents?

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here

What Counts as a Primary Source?

  • Archives
  • Correspondence
  • Journals
  • Diaries
  • Financial records
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Oral histories
  • Recorded
  • Transcribed government documents
  • Books written by the person being studied

are all examples of primary sources.