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Primary Sources   Tags: ask today, research  

Primary sources defined, examples provided, and where to find this type of source.
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2016 URL: http://libraryguides.brownmackie.edu/primary_sources Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

What are Primary Sources? Print Page

Primary Sources

A primary source provides a first-hand account of events, practices, or conditions of the period you are researching. 

In general, a primary document is one that was created by the witnesses or first recorders of the event at about the time it occurred.  The primary document has not been interpreted, filtered, condensed or evaluated by anyone else.


Examples of Primary Sources

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • eyewitness accounts
  • diaries
  • letters
  • reports
  • speeches
  • photographs
  • creative works
  • financial records
  • maps
  • historical and legal documents
  • memos
  • statistical data
  • books
  • journal/magazine articles
  • memoirs
  • newspaper articles
  • television/radio broadcasts
  • audio/video recordings

Note that primary sources can vary by discipline.

Secondary and Tertiary Sources

Most research requires the use of all three types of sources. Learn more about:



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