Secondary & primary sources in the research process
- Secondary sources: Generally the place to begin. They provide background on a topic and others analysis.
- most scholarly books and articles fit this category
- familiarize you with names of specific people or agencies involved, issues at stake, important dates, events, etc. Knowing this will help you search for primary sources, if that is your goal.
- often have bibliographies that document materials consulted (which may identify materials you'd like to examine, and may note primary sources)
- Primary sources: For those wanting to locate primary sources, they are often a second step in the search process, once you have learned the details from secondary sources (alerting you to the existence of, or help focus your search for, primary sources)
- historically contemporaneous news coverage is one example of a primary source
- see definition of primary sources below...
Historical primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied....They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period
- Library guide (in depth examination of finding historical primary sources)