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Research 101: Primary or Secondary?

A guide to help you develop good research skills!


Definition & Examples

Primary sources:
Records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs or oral histories.

Letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures, video recordings, research data, government documents, objects, and artifacts such as art, ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. 

Understanding Primary Sources

Finding, Evaluating, and Using Primary Sources

The American Library Association (ALA) offers a brief, easy-to-use guide for finding, evaluating, and using primary sources. The ALA's guide offers additional explanation and several examples of primary source material.

Click on the following links if you need assistance, with:



Primary, Secondary, Tertiary




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