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How to determine if your source is primary or secondary:

Primary Sources

A primary source is an original work created during or around the event being studied. A primary source is not interpretive. It will not examine events as they happen (For example a primary source from the French Revolution might tell you about the events of the day that Marie Antoinette was killed, but it won't talk about the socio-economic impact of her death.)

 

Examples of Primary Sources:

Diaries

Letters

Speeches

Government Documents (such as a piece of legislation)

Newspaper Articles

Photographs

What is a Secondary Source?

A secondary source interprets primary sources and the original historical event. It specifically examines events for some sort of (often scholarly) purpose. Secondary sources are usually created much later than the original event in question.

 

Examples of Secondary Sources:

Books

Documentaries

Journal Articles

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