Primary and Secondary Sources

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What is Primary Sources?
* Primary sources are original materials. Generally, primary sources are not accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. * Information for which the writer has no personal knowledge is not primary, although it may be used by historians in the absence of a primary source. * Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring.

♣ Examples of Primary Sources:
* archives and manuscript material
* photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, films
* journals, letters and diaries
* speeches
* scrapbooks
* published books, newspapers and magazine clippings published at the time * government publications
* oral histories
* records of organizations
* autobiographies and memoirs
* printed ephemera
* artifacts, e.g. clothing, costumes, furniture
* research data, e.g. public opinion polls

What is Secondary Sources?
* Offer an interpretation or analysis of the primary source materials. * Second hand accounts of historical events.
* Secondary sources are works of synthesis and interpretation based upon primary sources and the work of other authors. They may take a variety of forms. The authors of secondary sources develop their interpretations and narratives of events based on primary sources, that is, documents and other evidence created by participants or eyewitnesses.

♣ Examples of Secondary Sources:
* articles,
* biographies,
* books,
* textbooks,
* Reports on events, etc.

THINGS TO ASK WHEN EVALUATING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES: * How does the author know these details (names, dates, and times)? * Was the author present at the event or...
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