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Information Literacy Introduction (Module 2): Types of Sources


It is important to know the difference between primary and secondary sources before starting one's research. Below are some examples of each. However, some of these may fit into both categories depending on the type of research that you are doing. 

Primary Source

A primary source is a first hand/eye witness account of an event or an original idea or work.

Examples of primary sources:

  • Letters/Diaries
  • Newspapers written at the time
  • Autobiographies
  • Case law
  • Literature
  • Interview/Oral history
  • New scientific research


Secondary Source

A secondary resource is a synthesis or analysis of information.

Examples of secondary sources:

  • Journal articles that analyze information
  • Books that analyze information
  • Dictionaries/Encyclopedias
  • Literary criticism
  • Opinion pieces