What are primary resources?
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2018     Views: 122

Primary resources are sources created by people who were actual eyewitnesses of or participated in an event and then wrote or recorded the information about it soon after it took place. Primary resources can take the form of various types of materials such as pictures, photographs, poems, court records, interviews, diaries, notes, oral histories, memoirs, posters, etc.

For example, an article written in a newspaper during World War II by an eyewitness of the fighting is primary material.  Another example is a letter written by a soldier to his family during World War II. However, an article analyzing the results of the battles fought during the World War II is secondary material. Usually, a work that is analyzing or interpreting the events that occurred during a historical event or period is considered a secondary resource.

Primary resources vary by discipline. It is best to check with your professor to see what he or she considers a primary resource.

The Primary Sources research guide is a good introduction to primary sources. If you need further assistance, please Ask a Librarian

Answered By: Ask A Librarian