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Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide

Primary & Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

  • Original documents that provide first-hand knowledge of an event
  • Always created at, or close to, the time of an event
  • Examples: diaries, letters, speeches, interviews, photographs

Secondary Sources

  • Created after an event and often refer to primary sources
  • Authors do not have first-hand knowledge, and depend on primary sources for information
  • Examples: biographies, textbooks, books, journal articles, films

Primary vs. Secondary Sources