History and Cultural Studies: Primary vs secondary sources

History and Cultural Studies: Primary vs secondary sources

Main sources

A source that is primary a document or record containing first-hand information or initial information on an interest. Main sources tend to be developed during the time of a conference, but can additionally be recorded at a time that is latere.g. memoirs or interviews). Main sources offer insights into just exactly exactly how individuals see their globe at a time that is particular.

It is critical to assess main sources for precision, authenticity, bias and effectiveness.


  • Audio tracks
  • Artworks
  • Court public records
  • Diaries
  • Drawings
  • Movie footage
  • federal Government papers
  • Interviews
  • Paper clippings
  • Original manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Poetry
  • Posters
  • Songs and sheet music
  • Speeches

Keep in mind that primary sources in many cases are reproduced in guide format – but that they’re nevertheless regarded as being a primary supply.

Supply: Reitz, JM 2004, on line dictionary for library and information technology, Libraries Unlimited, Westport, Conn.

They are a few samples of primary sources from the colletion. There are lots of more!

Access full text on the web by selecting these links:

To learn more, see:

Can a supply be both secondary and primary?

The usage of a source with its proper context is exactly what determines its designation as being a main or source that is secondary.

Sometimes a supply or document may act as a additional source for just one topic and also as a main supply for the next subject that is altogether different.

For instance: Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, posted in 1513, is a vital additional supply for almost any research regarding the different Renaissance princes within the Medici household; nevertheless the exact same guide can be a main supply when it comes to governmental believed that had been characteristic associated with the sixteenth century as it reflects the attitudes of the person surviving in the 1500s.

Supply: Craver, KW 1999, making use of Web main Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills of all time, Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, Westport.

Additional sources

Any published or unpublished work that is certainly one action taken out of the first supply (or occasion under review). a additional source often defines, summarises, analyses, evaluates, interprets or reviews main supply materials.

Keep in mind that authors of additional sources might use source that is primary to persuade readers to guide their arguments about a meeting and its particular meaning.


  • Biographical or studies that are historical
  • Critical analyses
  • Dictionaries
  • russians brides

  • Documentaries
  • Encyclopaedias
  • Journal articles
  • Reviews
  • Second person account
  • Textbooks

Supply: Reitz, JM 2004, on line dictionary for library and information technology, Libraries Unlimited, Westport, Conn.

They are a couple of types of additional sources through the colletion. There are lots of more!

Access text that is full by selecting these links:

Tertiary sources

A penned work, based totally on additional sources, as opposed to on initial research involving main documents. Whether a supply is additional or tertiary could be based on examining the bibliography ( if an individual is provided). Another clue is the fact that additional sources are almost always compiled by specialists, but tertiary sources may be authored by staff authors that have a pursuit into the subject but they are perhaps maybe maybe not scholars about the subject.


  • Chapter in a textbook
  • Entry in a guide book

Source: Reitz, JM 2004, on line dictionary for information and library technology, Libraries Unlimited, Westport, Conn.

Assessing sources

It’s important to assess main, secondary and tertiary sources for precision, bias and effectiveness. All works must certanly be viewed through the optical eyes for the creator.

Taking into consideration the after concerns may help determine the authenticity associated with supply, along with any present that is bias

  • Whom created the supply? How can the details are known by them such as for instance names, times and times? Were they provide in the occasion? Could be the given information according to individual experience, reports compiled by other people, or information?
  • Exactly just How accurate is the foundation in comparison to others (first-hand and second-hand records)?
  • Exactly just How trustworthy may be the supply? Has it been modified? Exactly just How and just why achieved it endure?
  • Why as soon as ended up being the foundation developed? Why was it later published? Ended up being it ever meant for book?
  • What’s the bias into the supply? All papers are biased to some degree. Could be the bias accidental or purposeful?

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