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Primary Sources Video
Primary & Secondary Sources
Learn to distinguish between primary and secondary sources, and use them appropriately in your research.
video, 6 min.) CLIP
Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Sources Defined
PRIMARY SOURCES DEFINED
Are first-hand accounts or individual representations and creative works.
Are created by those who have directly witnessed what they are describing.
Bring us as close to the original event or thought as possible without being filtered, influenced or analyzed through interpretation.
Tend to be original documents that do not usually describe or analyze work by others.
May be published or unpublished works.
WHEN TO USE PRIMARY SOURCES
When you want to make claims or criticisms.
As evidence for theories.
To gain timely perspectives on a topic.
General Examples: Letters, diaries, speeches, interviews, correspondence, court cases, newspaper articles about current events.
Natural & Physical Sciences: Analyzed results from studies, field data, experiments and research. original
History: Transcript of a speech; newsreel and video footage.
Literature: Original literary works such as books, short stories, and poetry.
Art: Art works by artists .
Social Sciences: Interview transcripts of patients; raw, unanalyzed population data; newspaper articles about events.
analyses of other peoples' works. second-hand Offer extensive and in-depth
sources. analyses of primary Summarize, evaluate, and analytically
material. interpret primary Are not evidence, but are useful sources of different experts' views of the primary sources.
Are one step removed from the original or primary source.
Are published works, that list their sources of information which can be then used to locate additional information for your research.
WHEN TO USE SECONDARY SOURCES
When you need a summary of primary source.
To analyze or evaluate primary source.
When an outside and neutral perspective is needed.
To place first hand experiences into a broader context.
General Examples: Textbooks, scholarly books, analyses, review articles, dissertations, theses.
Natural & Physical Sciences: Articles that reviews and evaluates the theories and works of others
History: Article analyzing a speech; book recounting battle history; biographies.
Literature: Literary critiques that examine writing style and techniques .
Art: Lecture given about and artist's techniques ; criticism or a review of artist's work.
Social Sciences: News commentaries; articles analyzing results of a study; a book that discusses population trends over time; evaluations of social and government policy, law and legislation.
Are distillations and collections of primary and secondary sources.
Present a summarized factual representation of information.
Are free from biased points of view and critiques.
Are the last documents to be published in the information cycle.
Tend to consist of highly reliable and accurate information,
Contain broad perspectives of topics.
Offer a general overview of your topic and background information for your research.
WHEN TO USE SECONDARY SOURCES
When factual information is needed
When basic information is needed.
When definitions or statistics are needed.
Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, guides, directories, classification systems, chronologies, and other factbooks.