What are Primary Sources?
A primary source can be a first-hand account of an event and was created during the time period being studied, or was created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied. Examples include: diaries, autobiographies, speeches, historical newspapers, interviews, laws, manuscripts, art, plays or memoirs, data and statistics, and maps. When you are looking for primary sources, here are some things to remember:
- In order to analyze primary sources, you need to know the historical context of when a primary source was created.
- You should be aware of the point of view or bias. Two observers of the same event could have very different perspectives.
- Sometimes first-hand accounts or interviews might not contain accurate or factual information.
- Understand historical usage of language. When searching for primary sources, be aware of the language used during the time period being studied and use those terms in your searches.