Friday, October 25, 2013

What are Primary and Secondary Sources -- A Select Sample

Library guides (LibGuides Community Site) provide resources to understand the question of what is primary (original work) and what is secondary (review, criticism, etc.). A sample is given here to help a beginner and anyone who needs a lead:
Primary Source
Secondary Sources
Novel, poem
Literary criticism
Diary, autobiography
Letters, historical documents, oral testimony
Historical Commentary
Newspaper report
Raw data from questionnaires
Scientific article
Television show/film
Case study
"A primary source is any work that offers ORIGINAL intellectual content: artistic works, diaries, newpaper reports witnessed by a participant from the time of the event, memoirs, speeches, government reports & statistics, artifacts.

Primary sources generally serve as foundation material for a particular subject area. They are the result of someone doing primary research, which involves collecting raw data. Primary sources allow researchers to analyze the data or object for themselves in order to come up with alternate theories and opinions.
Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources. In other words, when a writer looks at a primary document, and produces a work that tries to make sense of what he or she finds, the result is a secondary study or secondary source." Adapted from:
Kirszner, Laurie G. The Holt Handbook. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2002.

Samples from Library Guides:

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