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History Resources: Primary and Secondary Sources Example

Primary v. Secondary Sources: What's the Difference?

Doing research can involve looking for different types of sources, such as primary and secondary sources. Be familiar with the differences between these two types of sources.

Primary Sources: Primary sources are original historical records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Examples of primary sources include: 

  • Letters
  • Photographs
  • Manuscripts
  • Diaries
  • Memoirs
  • Speeches
  • Interview
  • Government documents
  • Audio recordings
  • Oral histories
  • Videos
  • Other objects or artifacts relating to historical events or works of art

Credo Reference Primary Sources: Credo Reference has some primary sources that may be helpful to your history research.  

Secondary Sources: Secondary sources are documents written based on the information provided by primary sources and offer historical perspective or an author's interpretation or analysis. Secondary sources often provide an opinion or particular viewpoint. Examples of these kinds of sources include:

  • Journal and magazine articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Books
  • Textbooks

Video Tutorial

Source: In this YouTube video, created by Hailee Garrison, you will gain an understanding of the differences between primary and secondary sources. The tutorial also explains why you need to use these different sources in your research papers.