HIST 1000: Nature in History (Olfelt)

Primary Sources

Primary or Secondary Source?

A primary source is first-hand information created during the time that you are researching. 

A secondary source is second-hand information, often written by an expert who draws on both primary and contextual information.  

Descriptive Questions

What is it?

Who wrote or made it?

When was it written or made?

Where was it written or made?

How was it written or made?

 

Interpretive Questions

What is the tone of the source?

Who was the intended audience of this source? How might that influence its content?

Why was this source written or made? What is its intended purpose?

What research questions might this source suggest?

Examples of Primary Sources

Autobiographies

Diaries

Documents

Eyewitness accounts

Film footage

Laws

Letters

Newspaper articles

Concert programs

Novels

Objects from the time

Oral histories

Photographs

Poems, art

Speeches

Musical scores

Recordings