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Primary Sources

Primary Sources

DEFINITION: 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. 
Examples of primary sources are:

  • Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts and other papers in which individuals describe events in which they were participants or observers;
  • Memoirs and autobiographies;
  • Records of organizations and agencies of government;
  • Published materials written at the time of the event;
  • Photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures, video recordings documenting what happened;
  • Artifacts of all kinds; and
  • Research reports in the sciences and social sciences.

Primary vs Secondary Sources