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Primary Sources: What are primary sources?

Primary Sources - provide original ideas, participation in events, or direct observations of research/study. They can be historical documents written in the time period of the topic being researched. Examples include:

  • Historical documents written in the subject's time period
  • Novels, plays, poems, works of art
  • Diaries, autobiographies, speeches
  • Government documents
  • Experimental research results, Data sets

Secondary Sources - analyze, describe, or restate information in primary resources or other secondary resources. Examples include:

  • Biographies
  • Review articles
  • Literature reviews
  • Historical studies

Tertiary Sources - provide overviews of topics by compiling information gathered from other resources. Examples include:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Almanacs
  • Textbooks

UCNJ LibGuides at Union College