Primary sources are the raw, or original, records created by participants in firsthand events, and they are not interpretations of events made after the fact by others. Primary sources are considered “firsthand” and can include materials created many years ago.
In this article, we will discuss the two types of sources; Primary and Secondary sources, their importance, and their uses.
A primary source is a document or other material that provides first-hand information about its subject. Primary sources are the raw materials of history as they are original documents and objects which were created at the time of the event being studied.
Primary sources are used as evidence for answering questions about the past. They can include diaries, letters, speeches, photographs, newspaper articles, government records, poems, novels, plays, and music and they may be in print or digital format.
They are the documents or artifacts closest to the topic of investigation. Often they are created during the time period which is being studied, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.
A primary source can be a person with direct knowledge of a situation or a document created by such a person. For example, if you were researching the history of women’s suffrage in the United States, Susan B. Anthony’s diary would be considered a primary source.
On the other hand, a history textbook written about Susan B. Anthony would be considered a secondary source because the information has already been interpreted and evaluated by the author of the textbook. This information is critical because it helps us to answer what did people actually think and how did they act.
By understanding these first-hand accounts of past events, we get more in-depth details about historical periods.
A secondary source is one that was written after an event or development has occurred. Secondary sources may be based on primary sources and will often analyze, interpret, or comment on a historical event. This means that a secondary source is a work that provides information about the primary source, but it does not have first-hand information.
For example, a biography written about Marie Curie would be considered a secondary source because it includes information about her life, but it was not written by her or anyone who knew her directly. Secondary sources are useful in providing background information to help people better understand a topic and are usually academic works like articles, books, and encyclopedias that seek to summarize existing research on a topic.
The best way to differentiate between primary and secondary sources is that primary sources are first-hand accounts, while secondary sources are second-hand accounts.
For example, a person who writes about their own experiences with an illness is a primary source, because the person is the one describing what happened. If another author writes a book about the symptoms of an illness from the perspective of an outsider, that’s a secondary source.
This is why it is important for primary sources to be taken carefully because sometimes, people tend to embellish or distort their own experiences. Secondary sources need to be taken carefully as well because it’s easy for an outsider to get something wrong about someone else’s experiences; for example, the author of a secondary source might misinterpret symptoms or misunderstand the way something worked.
Here are some of the similarities between primary and secondary sources:
For example, a book about Martin Luther King Jr would be a secondary source because it was not written by him. The book would be based on interviews with people who knew him, letters he wrote, and speeches he gave. It could also include newspaper articles from the time period when he was alive.
However, the first thing to remember when researching for any research paper or essay is: you must use primary sources!
There are many different kinds of primary sources depending on their original purpose and format. All types of primary sources provide information about a particular event or time period. For example:
A secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere. A secondary source contrasts with a primary source, which is an original source of the information being discussed. Here are examples:
Primary sources are used to provide a closer look at what actually happened during an event or period of time because they were written when it was actually happening, not later when people were trying to remember and write about it. They give a closer look into what people thought and wrote about during a period of time.
Historians use primary sources to understand the past. They look at these documents to get as close as possible to what happened during a certain historical event. Historians and researchers can get a better idea of how people lived in the past and what they thought was important enough to record
For example, if you’re writing about the founding of your city, it might be helpful for you to find a newspaper article written on the day the city was founded. You could also find a picture taken on that day of people celebrating the founding of your city.
Secondary sources are used in research as a way to add context to primary sources. They can help you find information quickly. A quick Google search for “themes in The Great Gatsby” will return plenty of articles that discuss those themes and can help you get started with your research.
Secondary sources are also helpful when you want to understand how other people interpret and analyze something. As your research progresses, you may want to see what others have said about the thing you’re studying in order to form your own opinions on it and write your own analysis.
Finally, secondary sources are important because they provide context for primary sources: another name for original works like documents, books, or artworks. For example, a biography about Abraham Lincoln would be a primary source because it was written by someone who knew him personally. An article about Lincoln’s life and legacy would be a secondary source because it was written after his demise.
Both primary and secondary sources are useful in research and journaling. The important thing to note is that it is always desirable to use primary sources when available and if otherwise, you can make use of the secondary sources. Also do not forget to reference any source you use whether it is the primary or secondary source.
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