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Q. Primary source


"primary, adj. 1. Occurring or existing first in a sequence of events; belonging to the beginning or earliest stage of something; first in time. 2. Of the highest rank or importance; principal, chief. 3. a. That is not subordinate to or derived from anything else; that is the source or cause of something; fundamental; original. b. Not involving intermediate agency; immediate, first-hand; that is a direct result of something. Now chiefly in technical and specialist senses: cf. A. II." OED


Primary sources provide direct, firsthand evidence about an event, object, or person. They are not interpretative beyond that original perspective. Primary sources include everything from diaries, letters, manuscripts, audio and video recordings, speeches, artwork, interviews, surveys, emails, scientific research results, census records, etc.


Primary sources are used across academic disciplines to bring authenticity and authority to research. Using primary sources gives a researcher a chance to interpret historic events and figures, analyze information, and support their arguments with evidence. Interpreting historical sources also helps researchers translate those skills to analyze and evaluate contemporary information. Using primary sources engages researchers with the idea of history as an active process-one which allows for their contributions as well. 




Consider browsing this helpful handout: 

1. Primary vs. Secondary Sources

2. Finding Sources

3. Evaluating Sources



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  • Last Updated Mar 13, 2020
  • Views 18
  • Answered By Francesca Golus

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