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GLBC 1200 - Fact, Fiction, and Outright Lies

Primary Sources

What is a primary source? 

A primary source is a first-hand account or other evidence coming directly from an event. This might include letters, legal documents, speeches, diaries, interviews, data, and even video or audio recordings. 

What is a secondary source? 

These are sources that someone has created by engaging with the primary sources. Scholarly articles, nonfiction books, newspaper articles, and other interpretations are secondary sources. 

How do I find a primary source? 

Each situation will be different, but you may consider: 

  • Looking for materials written by a person that you're writing about, or by others that witnessed the events
  • Looking for legal documents when appropriate.
  • Searching for interviews with people connected to the events that you address in your paper 
  • Checking the bibliographies of secondary sources to see if they contain primary sources
  • Searching online collections of archives or museums related to your topic, or reaching out to museum professionals if documents are not available online.