Primary Sources for Historical Research

What are primary resources?

Primary resources are documents or artifacts created by someone with first hand knowledge of the timeframe at hand. Some examples are:

  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Photographs
  • Newspaper articles

But there are others as well. 

Still not sure? Watch this short slide show.

Questions to ask yourself to determine if it is a primary source.

  • Was the author/creator directly involved in the event/era you are studying?
  • Could s/he have had firsthand knowledge of what was going on?
  • Have I verified that this item is actually from the time period it says it's from?

When in doubt, ask a librarian. 

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Your Librarian

Paul Gifford

Paul Gifford

227 Thompson Library

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